There’s nothing quite like celebrating summertime and freedom by setting off fireworks! However, it is very important to be cautious while celebrating – more than 18,500 fires are caused by fireworks every year. Here are some tips to help you take the proper precautions when operating fireworks so that your July 4th festivities are safe, but still a blast!
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Sparklers alone account for one quarter of all firework related injuries reported to medical authorities.
- Keep a bucket of water handy, just in case a fire occurs or there is a firework malfunction.
- If a firework does malfunction, do NOT relight it! Douse it with water, allowing the firework to soak, then it throw away.
- Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially one that is made of metal or glass.
- Never attempt to disassemble or try to make your own fireworks.
- Do not point fireworks at yourself or others, especially while you are lighting them.
- Don’t light sparklers or fireworks inside your home. They are meant to be used outdoors only.
- Alcohol and fireworks are a bad mix. Never use fireworks while under the influence.
- Leave your pets at home – some pets are frightened by being in a unfamiliar, loud, crowded place and may try to run away.
- Make sure firework use is legal in your area!
The CPSC reports that fireworks cause an average of 11,000 injuries, with burns making up 69% of them. Keep “the four C’s” in mind when it comes to providing first aid for firework burns.
- Cool the burn with cool water (NOT ice!) for at least 5 minutes.
- Using ice to treat burns can cause further damage to the skin’s tissue.
- Clean the area with soap and water.
- Cover it with a bandage or dry, clean cotton dressing.
- After immediately cleaning and covering the burn, you can use ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help relieve pain and swelling.
- Call your doctor if the burn does not feel/look better within 24 hours or if the burn is larger than the palm of your hand.
- Minor burns are usually able to heal on their own without needing further treatment and will typically show signs of improvement within 24 hours. Major burns (where the burned area is large or the skin has broken) require immediate care from either an emergency room or burn center. Call 911 if the burn victim cannot be transported safely.