The 4th of July is one of America's truly favorite holidays, however, for many, enjoying the holiday includes an unwanted trip to the hospital. Every year more than 11,000 people are sent to the emergency room for fireworks related injuries, and in a typical year, about 8 to 10 people are actually killed as a result of fireworks mishaps.
We also experience significant property damages from fireworks celebrations gone awry. Every 4th of July, fireworks will start an average of 18,500 fires, including roughly 1300 home/building fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
There are steps you can take to protect your family and your property so that you don't wind up becoming one of these statistics. It all comes down to common sense and respecting the power of the fireworks.
Mind the Sparklers
Usually these are known as "kiddie" fireworks, but you may be surprised to know that they cause a quarter of house fires each and every 4th of July. Sparklers are best handled by people aged 12 and older. Children younger than 12 require extreme supervision. Everyone handling sparklers should wear closed-toe shoes, not flip-flops or sandals, to protect their feet from sparks.
Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities and never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
Keep a Safe Distance from Your Home
If you are going to use fireworks at home, be sure you're lighting them in a safe area. A safe area means away from homes and buildings. Look out for tree limbs or bushes that could catch fire. If your gutters have accumulated leaves, pine needles or other flammable material, clean them before using fireworks near your property. If you're leaving town for the holiday, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house.
Be Prepared for the Worst
If you set off fireworks, keep a bucket of water handy in case of malfunction or fire. A fire extinguisher should be kept nearby in case of an emergency, especially if you are lighting fireworks on your street.
Always follow instructions for lighting fireworks. If fireworks malfunction, don't relight them! Douse and soak them with water, then throw them away. Also, never ignite fireworks in a container, especially one that is glass or metal.
Stay Away from Others
Don't aim fireworks at other people. They can cause severe injury.
By following some simple guidelines and recommendations, you can be assured to have a safe and happy 4th of July Holiday! Enjoy!