Since July 4th falls on a Wednesday this year, the celebrations are starting now and expected to run all weekend long.
Although using fireworks to celebrate independence day is as American as apple pie, there are unfortunately many injuries each year and even deaths that could have been prevented if common sense and safety guidelines are followed.
US hospital emergency departments treated about 9,600 fireworks-related injuries in 2011, according to a June report by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Most of the injuries occurred in the month surrounding July 4, with sparklers accounting for nearly 18 percent and firecrackers accounting for about 13 percent. During that period, a frightening nearly one-quarter of fireworks-related injuries involved children below the age of 15. Children should never be permitted to handle fireworks unsupervised.
With the weather being so dry in many area that means that the July 4th, 2012 celebrations can lead to fire hazards in addition to the hazards associated with fireworks in general.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety focuses on educating the public about the safe and responsible use of consumer fireworks. Here are their top safety tips:
Use fireworks outdoors only.
Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
Always have water handy. (A hose or bucket).
Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them.
Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
Do not ever use homemade fireworks of illegal explosives: They can kill you! Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.
By following the above guidelines combined with common sense, you, your families and loved ones can enjoy a safe Fourth of July celebration.