The Fourth of July and other celebrations can be fun times with great memories. But each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Thomasville Fire Rescue (TFR) wants to make sure everyone knows about fireworks safety. “We don’t want you to spend your July 4th in the emergency room,” said Assistant Chief & Fire Marshal Tim Connell. “If used improperly fireworks can result in severe burns, blindness, scars and even death.”
According the National Fire Protection Agency, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and nearly 17,000 other fires. “These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $43 million in property damage,” said Connell. “In addition, hospital emergency rooms treat an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks-related injuries, with many of these being to children.” Connell said that while most of the injuries involved the extremities, 36% were too the head. “Head injuries and fireworks can be very serious.”
Connell advises that anyone celebrating the holiday with fireworks to take precautions. TFR recommends the following:
- Follow directions and heed warnings on the manufacturer package.
- Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
- Always have water ready if you are using fireworks.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
- Wear eye protection whenever using fireworks.
- Never relight a “dud” firework; wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
- Do not allow children to handle fireworks, including sparklers.
“TFR is urging our community to make sure that fun with fireworks does not turn tragic this July Fourth holiday,” he said. “We want to encourage everyone to be safe so that your celebrations are not disrupted with an avoidable injury.”