Celebrating our nation’s independence with family and friends typically centers around food, fun, and especially fireworks! But that fun can be quickly doused when something goes wrong. In 2010, 8600 injuries were the result of fireworks, with 2 out of every 5 of those injured under the age of 15. Also, more fires are reported on the 4th of July than any other day of the year. Taking the right precautions will ensure you enjoy your holiday instead dealing with serious injuries or even death.
Did you know fireworks are the riskiest consumer product on the market? According to the National Fire Protection Association, the risk of dying from a fire when fireworks are in use is greater than the risk of dying from a fire when a cigarette is lit. We may think that most injuries occur by igniting large fireworks or bottle rockets, but actually sparklers are responsible for more injuries than any other kind of firework by far. With temperatures reaching 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, sparklers account for more than a quarter of all firework injuries, followed by small fireworks with 12% of injuries.
Fireworks Safety Tips
Never allow children to play with fireworks and always have adult supervision when children handle sparklers or other small fireworks.
Do not try to make your own fireworks.
Only use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water nearby for emergencies.
Do not throw or point fireworks at someone.
Do not hold fireworks in your hand or stand over them while lighting.
Light one firework at a time and never try to relight a dud.
If a firework does not ignite, wait several minutes and then pour water on it.
Soak used fireworks in water before discarding in the trash.
Do not use fireworks on “Red Flag Warning” days.
One of the best ways to reduce your risk of injury this 4th of July is enjoying one of the public displays. Staying a safe distance from a professional fireworks show is a great way to enjoy the holiday, celebrate our country, and go home afterwards instead of taking a trip to the emergency room.
In New Mexico, the laws on consumer usage of fireworks are clear. Display fireworks, those available only to the professionals, are a separate classification of fireworks and not available to the public for consumer use. If purchasing consumer fireworks, make sure you only buy legal fireworks, identified by a label with the manufacturer’s name and directions for usage. Also, setting off fireworks in your area may be illegal, so check with your local police department for clarification.