There were an estimated 10,000 fireworks-related injuries treated in emergency departments in 2019, with 73 percent of them during month surrounding the Fourth of July weekend. So, as we head into this year's holiday weekend, the West Grove Fire Company is urging all residents and visitors to be safe over the next few days.
While this year's July 4th holiday may feel different than most years, the fact that many public fireworks celebrations have been cancelled due to the pandemic has many people buying fireworks to set off at home. As such, the risk of injuries in the backyard is higher than ever. Safety awareness is important, for your own home or those you may visit, and especially when youngsters are involved.
Interestingly, sparklers are the number one cause of injuries -- and are the most popular holiday fireworks used by children. Half of all sparkler injuries involved children younger than 5 years old.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has published these tips to celebrate safely:
-- Never allow young children to play with, or ignite, fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt some metals.
-- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap.
-- Light fireworks one at a time, then move away quickly.
-- Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
-- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
-- Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
-- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.
-- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.
For more fireworks safety tips visit www.cpsc.gov/fireworks.
The WGFC also cautions to avoid shooting fireworks over houses or outbuildings -- sparks and spent fireworks can be a fire source. This is also true over fields and woods, especially with the current hot and dry conditions. Fire prevention is just as important a safety topic as injury prevention when it comes to the Fourth of July.
It is also important to note that setting off fireworks may be upsetting to animals and our military veterans. Please be courteous of the loud and unexpected noises and the impact they may have on pets, farm animals, and veterans.
And, during the July 4th heat wave, take precautions when outside -- be protected from the heat and make sure everyone (especially young children and the aged) is drinking lots of fluids.
Have a safe holiday weekend.