Handle with care: Tips for staying safe this Fourth of July

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 2, 2014 

Remember this Independence Day that even seemingly harmless sparklers can cause injury.

According to a Consumer Product Safety Commission study issued last month, sparklers and rockets accounted for more than 40 percent of all fireworks injuries in 2013.

The study says sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals.

According to the CPSC, in 2013, there were eight deaths and an estimated 11,400 people who sustained injuries related to fireworks. This represents an increase from 8,700 injuries in 2012. Sixty-five percent of the injuries in 2013 occurred in the 30 days surrounding July 4.

Injuries frequently resulted from users playing with lit fireworks or igniting fireworks while holding the device.

Only non-explosive fireworks devices are legal in Georgia, and Insurance and safety fire commissioner Ralph Hudgens said that even with those, people need to use extreme caution this Fourth of July.

"Even legal fireworks should only be used with close adult supervision. For the sake of safety and seeing a spectacular display, your best bet is to attend a professional show," Hudgens said.

Despite the law, many Georgians are likely to shoot off fireworks.

Columbus Fire Marshal Ricky Shores said, "If you are going to use fireworks, carefully follow the instructions and keep children and pets far away."

He said fireworks should not be used in a particularly dry area because a grass fire may be started. Water should always be nearby.

Some safety tips include:

• Make sure the fireworks you buy are legal in your area.

• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.

• Always have an adult near to fireworks activities.

• Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.

• Never consume alcohol while handling fireworks.

• Keep fireworks away from flammables and combustibles

• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby.

• Never try to relight malfunctioning fireworks.

• Never point fireworks at another person.

• Light fireworks one at a time then move away quickly.

• Never carry fireworks in your pocket.

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service