Tips for Independence Day safety

Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
July 3, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Fireworks are synonymous with Independence Day. But they can also be dangerous.

According to a recent U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report, in 2013, firework-related injuries reached its highest level in more than 10 years. An estimated 11,400 injuries were reported, jumping more than 30 percent from 2012.

The month surrounding Independence Day saw a majority of firework-related injuries; 7,400 between June 21 and July 21, 2013. About half of those injured were to people under the age of 25 and children five-years-old and under accounted for 14 percent of injuries.

“In 2013, sparklers and [bottle] rockets accounted for more than 40 percent of all estimated injuries,” the report said.

According to the report, firework incidents become deadly when banned, professional and home-manufactured devices are involved. In each of the eight fireworks-related deaths recorded in 2013, the victim was manipulating, or was a bystander to someone who was handling, a banned, professional or home-manufactured device.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers several safety tips on how to avoid becoming a statistic this year and enjoy your Independence Day:

-Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees.
-Always have an adult to supervise firework activities.
-Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper, which is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
-Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
-Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire.
-Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
-Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
-Light fireworks one at a time.
-Never shoot fireworks from a metal or glass containers.
-The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives encourages the public to report the manufacture or sale of illegal fireworks to -your local law enforcement agencies or to the ATF hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662).

Pets

The noise of fireworks scares dogs and cats. The Humane Society of Missouri is advising pet owners to be mindful, especially those who live near fireworks displays. The society urges people to find a cool, quiet place where pets can retreat from the noise. Keeping animals inside will also help them avoid stray fireworks. Pets should not be taken to fireworks displays and the society says an animal may show signs of panic if confined in a small area or chained outside.

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