Many of us celebrate Independence Day by barbecuing, celebrating with loved ones and watching fireworks light up the sky. Although it’s a fun-filled holiday, we want you to stay safe this Fourth of July by being smart when it comes to handling fireworks. By putting safety first, you can help protect you, your family and your property from harm.
Each year, thousands of people are injured while using fireworks. Injuries range from burns to head injuries to even death. Sparklers tend to be given to children of all ages as a “safe” alternative to other fireworks. However, sparklers — which burn at 1200°F or more — account for approximately 25% of emergency room firework injuries. Just to put that number into perspective, water boils at 212°F.
The safest way to enjoy the beauty and awe of fireworks is to attend a community event hosted by a team of professionals. However, if you choose to purchase and use fireworks, follow these tips from the American Pyrotechnics Association to stay safe.
- Never carry a firework in your pocket or shoot fireworks from a metal or glass container.
- Don’t aim or throw fireworks at others.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a firework.
- Only use fireworks away from buildings on a flat, level, hard, fireproof surface that is free of debris.
- Light only one firework at a time. Never re-ignite a firework that doesn’t light the first time.
- Allow used fireworks to stand for at least 20 minutes. Then submerge them in water, drain, place them in a plastic bag, and dispose of them outside in a covered trash can.
Caring for Minor Burns
Be prepared to respond if an accident does occur. Minor burns effect the outer layer of skin. They may cause redness, pain and swelling. Providing immediate first aid to help relieve pain and prevent infection.
Rinse the burn with cool water for at least 20 minutes or until the pain is relieved.
Cover the burn with a dry, sterile dressing.
Burns are at a high risk of infection because the skin is damaged and can no longer protect itself from infection. Minor burns usually heal without further treatment. However, you should seek medical care if the injury begins to show signs of infection (ex: increased swelling, drainage, or change in color of the burned area).
To learn more about burns and other medical emergencies, find an Instructor near you to get CPR, AED and First Aid certified.