Friday, June 27, 2008

Seeing Fireworks

Yeh, I know, here I go again. First, I was spouting the dangers of turkey fryers, denying people the delicacy of a deep fried turkey. Now here I am spreading doom and gloom on a summertime staple, fireworks. If you must light fireworks yourself, think before you act, have a plan in case something goes wrong, be safe and be sober. Now, on to a message from the United States Fire Administration (USFA):

Fireworks account for a substantial number of preventable injuries and fires each year. “Across the nation, residents will celebrate the birth of our nation with fireworks—both legal and illegal,” said U.S. Fire Administrator Gregory Cade. “These pyrotechnics become bigger, brighter, and more dangerous each year. By taking some simple steps for safety, those choosing to use fireworks can ensure they will not end their celebrations by seeking medical treatment for injuries by their use.”

Parents need to be especially vigilant during this period, ensuring children do not possess illegal fireworks or mishandle legal ones. Despite federal and state regulations on the type of fireworks available for sale to the public, even fireworks sold legally carry an elevated risk of personal injury. Because of this, the safest way to enjoy them is through public displays.

Statistics maintained by the fireworks industry indicate Americans used 280 million pounds of display and backyard pyrotechnics in 2007; according to statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), nearly 10,000 Americans were treated in emergency rooms for firework-related injuries. Industry specialists are, once again, forecasting a growth in sales of fireworks during 2008.

The USFA joins with the CPSC to recommend the following safety procedures when using fireworks at any time of year:
* Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
* Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
* Avoid buying fireworks that come in brown paper packaging, as this can often be a sign the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
* Adults should always supervise fireworks activities. Parents often don’t realize there are many injuries from sparklers to children under five. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
* Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. * Move back a safe distance immediately after lighting.
* Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
* Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
* Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
* Light one item at a time, then move back quickly.
* Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
* After fireworks fully complete their functioning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding .

Additional information regarding safety issues and the dangers of fireworks can be seen at: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/tfrs/v5i4.pdf.


Mike


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