Fourth of July is one of America’s favorite holidays and it’s a time to enjoy Independence Day with your family and friends.
Unfortunately, every year more than 11,000 people are sent to the emergency room for fireworks-related injuries and in a typical year about eight to 10 people are killed by fireworks.
On top of that, fourth of July fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires every year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
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But you can take steps to protect your family and your property so that you don’t have to be one of those statistics. It all comes down to common sense and respecting the power of the fireworks.
Mind the sparklers – Usually these are known as “kiddie” fireworks, but you may be surprised to know that they cause a quarter of house fires on the Fourth of July. Sparklers are best handled by people aged 12 and older. Children younger than 12 require extreme supervision. Everyone handling sparklers should wear closed-toe shoes, and not flip-flops or sandals, to protect their feet from sparks.
Adult supervision – Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities and never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Sparklers alone account for one-quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries.
Keep a safe distance from your home – If you are going to use fireworks at home, be sure you’re lighting them in a safe area. A safe area means away from homes and buildings. Look out for tree limbs or bushes that could catch fire.
If your gutters have accumulated leaves, pine needles or other flammable material, clean them before using fireworks near your home. If you’re leaving town for the holiday, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house.
Be prepared for the worst – If you set off fireworks, keep a bucket of water handy in case of malfunction or fire. A fire extinguisher should be kept nearby in case of an emergency, especially if you are lighting fireworks on your street.
Follow instructions – Always follow instructions for lighting fireworks. If fireworks malfunction, don’t relight them! Douse and soak them with water, then throw them away. Also, never ignite fireworks in a container, especially one that is glass or metal.
Stay away from others – Don’t aim fireworks at other people. They can cause severe injury.