Authorities offer safety tips for Fourth of July pyrotechnics

BY DAVID BRADLEY, News + Record Staff
Posted 7/2/19

Fireworks on the Fourth of July are an American tradition, but with the beauty of the colors and patterns comes an ever-present possibility of danger from fire and …

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Authorities offer safety tips for Fourth of July pyrotechnics

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Posted

Fireworks on the Fourth of July are an American tradition, but with the beauty of the colors and patterns comes an ever-present possibility of danger from fire and projectiles.

Insurancejournal.com reports that fireworks were responsible for eight deaths in 2017, and nearly 13,000 trips to the emergency room in accidents across the country. It’s important to understand the dangers present in the devices, no matter the size. Even a small device such as sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees, which is hot enough to melt gold.

The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office has tips on fireworks safety.

“We always like to remind folks to respect fireworks and read the instructions prior to handling or use,” said Sara Pack, public information officer with the Sheriff’s Office. “We recommend against giving fireworks to children or pointing fireworks toward people, animals, or dwellings.”

Pack also stressed the difficulty that household pets may have with firecrackers and loud noises.

“I also like to remind residents to bring pets inside before nightfall and secure them in an area of the home away from loud noises, if possible,” Pack said. “Fireworks can be especially frightening for our pets, so it’s important to do what we can to help them feel safe and comfortable this time of year.”

More ways to keep safe are:
1. After lighting the firework, get away from it. If it didn’t light fully, or doesn’t work correctly, don’t try to find out why, just saturate it with water and move on. Always have water buckets ready for problems.
2. No fireworks should be given to children.
3. Never stand over a firework when lighting it.
4. Never point or throw fireworks at a person.
5. Never carry fireworks in a pocket, or shoot them from metal or glass containers.
6. When the firework has completed its burning, drown it in water to avoid a fire, before placing it in the trash.
7. Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
8. Light each firework individually before igniting others. Then move back from the device quickly.
9. Never drink and set off fireworks.
10. Fireworks related activities, including sparklers, should always be supervised by an adult.

Never ignore the importance of safety. Burns and injuries to the body, hands, feet and eyes occur each year because of the user did not follow safety guidelines. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission says that more than 44 percent of injuries are burns, with 19 percent to the eyes, and 28 percent to hands and fingers.

Children under 15 received about 36 percent of these injuries, said Insurancejournal.com.

Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnic Association, talked about injuries as a result of misuse of the products.

“There is still work to be done, as the vast majority of fieworks-related injuries in the United States each year result form the misuse of fireworks,” she said.

State Fire Marshal Mike Causey tells people in a Tweet not to use fireworks because they are too dangerous. Fireworks cause thousands of fires and injuries each year. Leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals and have a SAFE Fourth of July.

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