By Chief DiLallo
Every Fourth of July, your local first responders encourage you to leave dangerous fireworks to the professionals. While most public firework displays canceled, our message on safety remains the same. Fireworks are dangerous, and the increase in small displays at home this holiday weekend could lead to more injuries.
Even though we all feel familiar with firework safety and their use, they still represent one of the most dangerous holiday traditions in our country. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently reported 2,600 fireworks-related emergency department visits occurred involving children around the Fourth of July.
Although fireworks that explode or shoot into the air also pose a significant danger, many of those 2,600 injuries were from “sparkler” fireworks that you can buy at the local grocery store. Sparklers can burn at temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees! Considering that these are often casually given to children to wave with little warning or instruction, it is easy to understand how these injuries occur. For young children, consider safer alternatives such as confetti poppers, glow sticks, or streamers.
The Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District understands the desire to celebrate the Fourth of July with family and friends. If choosing to celebrate with fireworks, outdoor grills, or campfires, follow these safety tips:
• Light fireworks in a cleared area free of vegetation or dry debris
• Clear debris from around campfires, grills and all fire sources
• Remove debris from any location where fireworks could land
• Always have a water source available
• Aim fireworks away from people, homes and wooded areas
• Never use homemade fireworks
• Discard used fireworks in a bucket of water
• Store unused fireworks, matches, and lighters out of the sight and reach of children
• Never leave a fire unattended and ensure it is completely out before leaving it
• Report any fire immediately to 9-1-1.
Holiday weekends are a perfect opportunity to enjoy time with loved ones, but it is important to keep safety in mind to prevent an injury. If you plan to use fireworks during your celebration, use caution and be responsible. No amount of fun is worth the safety of your friends and family.