EMMITSBURG, Md. - The U.S. Fire Administration and Safe Kids USA are encouraging families and individuals to prepare for a safe and memorable Independence Day by practicing safe grilling and leaving the fireworks to the professionals.
It would be hard to imagine the July 4th without fireworks. However, according to the June 2011 Fireworks Report Executive Summary by the National Fire Protection Association, more fires are reported on that day than any other day of the year in the U.S., and fireworks account for nearly half of those fires.
We all know that Independence Day is a major highlight of the summer and for many people there’s a lot of excitement around the use of legal fireworks. USFA Administrator Ernie Mitchell urges all employees to enjoy a safe Independence Day this 4th.
“Children are most vulnerable to fire-related injuries, , so staff should remember simple steps that can help protect their children burns, other trauma or even death,” said Mitchell.
Children and adults alike are fascinated by fireworks, which can be extremely dangerous. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s annual death and injury report on fireworks, approximately 40 percent of fireworks injuries occur to children younger than 15 years of age.
“The best way to protect your family and friends is keep fireworks away from your home. Attend public fireworks displays and leave pyrotechnics to the pros,” said Mitchell.
Fireworks Fire Safety Tips
If you are going to use fireworks legally, here are some recommended safety steps:
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees-hot enough to melt some metals.
- Always have an adult closely supervise fireworks activities if older children are allowed to handle devices.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
For more information, please visit the USFA’s Focus on Fire Safety: Fireworks webpage and Safe Kids USA at www.safekids.org.