|Fireworks Safety Tips for Keeping 4th of July Disaster-Free|
|By Public Education Coordinator Jackie O'Hara|
|July 2, 2021|
Each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks - devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death.
In 2020, an estimated 15,600 people were seen for fireworks-related injuries at hospital emergency departments, according to data collected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (NEISS). The highest estimate in more than 15 years.
"The only safe way to view fireworks is to attend a professional show," stated Fire Chief Steve Malone. "With many professional firework shows being canceled this year, it is important to know that fireworks are not safe in the hands of consumers."
The Manhattan Fire Protection District (MFPD) wants all community members to enjoy a fun-packed, safe holiday and offers these tips you can follow over the holiday weekend.
Here are a few ideas to get into the patriotic spirit, without fireworks:
* Use glow sticks. They glow in the dark and are a safe alternative to a sparkler.
* Be loud and proud. Noisemakers are sure to make a statement. They can be found at local party supply stores or create your own.
* Outdoor movie night. Set up a screen and projector. Don’t forget the bug spray!
* Red, white, and blue-silly string.
* Make a patriotic craft with the family.
* Throw a birthday party for the USA and don’t forget the cake.
There is no safe way to use fireworks at home. MFPD does not encourage the use of consumer fireworks or sparklers. If you are setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:
*Never give fireworks to small children to play with or ignite, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures, or flammable materials. Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
*Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
*Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper. This is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
*Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
*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.
*Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
*Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
*Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishaps.
*Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
*Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
*After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
*Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burns and eye injuries. You can help prevent firework-related injuries and deaths by encouraging your friends and family not to use consumer fireworks this holiday weekend.