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Independence Day – A Day to Celebrate WITHOUT Injury

The Fourth of July is a day of backyard barbecues, family and friends and fireworks! It is a summer day that is often filled with the anticipation of what the evening fireworks will bring.

People celebrate! It’s an American tradition to see fireworks on the Fourth of July! Whether you’re young or old, the beautiful array of brilliant, dazzling colors often brings a sense of warmth to the heart and a sense of WOW… How much more beautiful could they be?

No matter how beautiful they appear, fireworks have a dangerous side. They are not toys; they are explosives that can cause bodily harm if not handled properly. Children should never handle fireworks. Even sparklers which are thought to be safe and kid-friendly are dangerous. They reach temperatures above 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit which can cause third-degree burns to the user or bystanders.

Each year at Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin, the physicians treat many hand injuries caused by mishandled fireworks.  Burns and amputations are the most common.  Because of these injuries, some of which can be life-changing, the National Safety Council and the National Fire Protection Association Fireworks recommend people avoid them and enjoy public displays put on by professionals.

Fireworks are meant to be handled by professionals, however, if you insist on lighting them yourself, commit yourself to these safety guidelines to celebrate without injury.

Obey all federal and state laws

Fireworks are sold at many locations. Each state has unique rules and regulations regarding the use, possession and distribution. Know the law and report illegal explosives to the fire or police department.

Adults ONLY – Know your fireworks

Understanding the danger of the explosive firework is highly important; adults should handle all fireworks to decrease the chances of injury to children. Read caution labels and instructions for every firework you light. Do not use M-class fireworks, like M-80’S or M-100’s.

Always be alert

Never light or hold onto a firework with your hand. It should be well-secured on the ground and not facing toward anyone.

Know your surroundings

Use fireworks outdoors in a clear, open area. Light on flat surface and never attempt to relight a dud. Never point fireworks in the direction of another person, animal or building.

Avoid alcohol

Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save the alcohol for after the show.

Proper equipment

Safety glasses: Although it may sound odd, safety glasses are very important when shooting off bottle rockets as they tend to shoot off in many directions.

Fire extinguisher, bucket of water or garden hose: To properly dispose of spent fireworks, douse with water to eliminate fire hazards.

Lighting device: Use long match sticks or elongated lighter. Once lit, keep your distance.

Keep pets indoors

Most pets do not enjoy loud noises and burning smells. They become extremely frightened and are likely to run away if not kept safely inside.

Store fireworks properly

Never carry fireworks in your pocket. Friction could set them off.

Make sure all fireworks are stored at a safe distance from lighting area.

When handling fireworks, keep in mind the possibility of injury and remember to proceed with caution. Make this Independence Day and those that follow, a celebration without injury.

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