The Fourth of July is upon us and shooting fireworks are often the activity of choice related to the holiday. Although fireworks can be fun and enjoyable, they can also be dangerous. Fireworks-related injuries can cause trips to the ER, which can really put a damper on the holiday fun. Sometimes they are minor, such as cuts and scratches, but some can result in major injuries, like blindness or burns.
To ensure a fun and injury free holiday follow these fireworks safety tips.
Too Hot to Handle
Never allow children to touch fireworks of any kind even after they have "gone off.” The fireworks can still be hot or even explosive and debris from fireworks can be extremely dangerous.
Save the beer for the BBQ
Do not consume alcohol or drugs while using fireworks. It should go without saying, but alcohol and fireworks should not mix!
Stay Out of the Slammer
Obey all local laws regarding home use of fireworks. Some states have banned using fireworks at home; therefore, check your local laws before purchasing or using fireworks. If they are banned in your area, try visiting a public fireworks event this year!
If allowed in your area and you choose to do so, buy fireworks only from reliable sellers. Also, avoid buying them if they are packaged in brown paper because this often is a sign that fireworks were made for professional displays and could be dangerous to consumers.
Store fireworks in a dry, cool place.
Only use fireworks outdoors and always have plenty of water close by. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case an emergency occurs.
One and Done
Light only one firework at a time. We know you would like to think you can produce a fireworks display like Disney, but let’s leave that to the pros.
Unless third degree burns are your thing, you should never hold any part of your body directly over the firework while lighting it. Immediately back up to a safe distance after lighting fireworks.
Despite how much fun it may sound, you should never throw or point fireworks toward another person. Be sure all other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
Listen to Smoky the Bear
To prevent fires of any kind, it’s best not to light fireworks in a container, especially one made of metal or glass. Steer clear of houses or buildings, dry leaves or grass, or any other materials that can catch on fire when shooting off fireworks.
Don’t be a Dud
Never re-light a "dud" firework. Instead, wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water and throw it away.
If for some reason an accident does occur, call 911 or visit your local emergency room immediately. UAB Medical West’s Emergency Department is open 24/7 and is home to the 30 minute ER pledge. For more information, visit www.medicalwesthospital.org.