National Fireworks Safety Month

The first of June marks the beginning of National Fireworks Safety Month, which runs until July 4. It is sponsored by Prevent Blindness America, to educate those using fireworks on the dangers and injuries that can result from careless behavior.

Firework Fun Can Lead to Harm

For those wishing to mark their gatherings with fireworks, it is best to leave the displays to the professionals.  Such presentations are always marking important holidays, such as New Year’s Eve, Halloween, and of course, Independence Day.

Fireworks are also known to be an amazing way to mark the opening or closing ceremonies of large world events, such as the Olympics. They are used at carnivals and musical festivals to draw a crowd.  Disneyland uses them to commemorate special holidays and events. They are even used by couples to create a dazzling wedding display, or at rock concerts right up on stage for an extra special show. Of course, these are all professionally handled, to be sure that those watching the fireworks will be safe from harm.

There are numerous types of fireworks, and despite the dangers, some of them are actually aimed for use by children. The most popular is the sparkler. Though thought to be a safer firework for little ones, the sparkler actually is one of the most dangerous, because it burns at almost 2000 degrees. They have been known to cause serious injuries in children, and can even light their clothing on fire. Other supposedly kid-friendly fireworks include snaps, confetti shooters, snakes, and smoke bombs. The snaps and snakes are somewhat safer, because the snaps ignite when thrown on the ground, and the snakes do not need to be touched when lighting them.

The fireworks most often used by adults include fountains, cakes, roman candles, rockets, and artillery fireworks. They are meant to be stuck in the ground and the fuse lit when standing nearby. They are not meant to be held when shooting them, due to the larger explosion that results after the fuse has been lit.

Of course, when handled properly, all these fireworks can create a beautiful and dazzling display for observers. These types of fireworks are legal to buy, and legal to use in most areas, but before lighting them, be sure to check any city or town regulations.

There are also illegal fireworks, and these should never be used.  Included in this list are anything that starts with an M, such as the M-80, M-100, and M-250, as well as cherry bombs.

These products are illegal because they are produced with no quality control, and have shorter fuses, which may result in severe injuries. These are best left alone.

Use Fireworks Responsibly to Avoid Injury

When using fireworks, it always necessary to be cautious, because of the severity of the injuries they can cause.

Burns on the hand are the most common, because the hand is always closest to them. These injuries can range from minor burns, to blisters, to severe burns that cause excessive damage to the skin. Hand injuries can also include cuts, broken bones, torn tendons, and in the worst possible occurrence, amputation. These injuries are the result of standing too close when a firework explodes, or trying to hold onto them as they are lit.

Eye and face injuries are also common, because of the particles that fly through the air after one has exploded. Hearing loss is also suffered by some users, due to the loud bang when the fireworks explode. Sometimes this is only temporary, but it can be permanent, and is caused by standing too close when the firework detonates.

When using fireworks, it is best to follow a few simple rules to keep everyone safe from harm.  Be sure to read and follow all directions before using them.

  • Children should never be allowed to handle fireworks.
  • When lighting fireworks, put on safety glasses to protect the eyes.
  • Only use fireworks outside in an open area.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby at all times to soak duds with, and do not try to relight them.
  • Don’t light fireworks in any type of container, and never carry them in a pocket, because the friction of movement can cause them to light.
  • Keep a first aid kit handy, and if serious injury is suffered, seek medical attention.

Perhaps most important, never mix alcohol and fireworks.

Spread the Word about Firework Safety

Fireworks safety is important, especially at this time of year when people use them to celebrate all sorts of occasions. Spread the word to make sure everyone stays safe.

When using or watching fireworks displays, be sure to discuss the dangers of them with any children observing them, so they know to be cautious around them. Also, be watchful when fireworks are being used nearby, to be sure those lighting them are doing so correctly, and within the legal limits.

By following these guidelines measures, injuries can be kept to a minimum, and the fireworks can be enjoyed without a trip to the emergency room.