Knowledge of fireworks safety is important, especially at this time of year when people use them to celebrate the Independence Day holiday. The National Safety Council advises everyone to stay away from all consumer fireworks, and to only enjoy fireworks at a public display conducted by seasoned professionals.
However, there are some fireworks that are legal for consumers to purchase and use in some states, but just because they're legal to purchase does not mean they're safe. There are numerous types of fireworks, and despite the dangers, some of them, such as sparklers, are actually aimed for use by children. Though people may think it is a safer firework, the sparkler is actually one of the most dangerous because it burns at almost 2000 degrees. They have been known to cause serious burn injuries on children, and can even light their clothing on fire. Some fireworks often used by adults include Roman candles, bottle rockets, and fountains. They are meant to be stuck in the ground and the fuse lit when standing nearby. They are not meant to be held when shooting them, due to the larger explosion that results after the fuse has been lit.
Burns on the hand are the most common hazard of using fireworks, because the hand is always closest to them. These injuries can range from minor burns, to blisters, to severe burns that cause excessive damage to the skin. Hand injuries can also include cuts, broken bones, torn tendons, and in the worst possible occurrence, amputation. These injuries are the result of standing too close when a firework explodes, or trying to hold onto them as they are lit.
Eye and face injuries are also common, because of the particles that fly through the air after one has exploded. Hearing loss is also experienced by some users, due to the loud bang when the fireworks explode. Sometimes this is only temporary, but it can be permanent, and is caused by standing too close when the firework detonates.
When using fireworks, it is best to follow a few simple rules to keep everyone safe from harm. Be sure to read and follow all directions before using them.
• Children should never be allowed to handle fireworks.
• When lighting fireworks, put on safety glasses to protect the eyes.
• Only use fireworks outside in an open area.
• Keep a bucket of water nearby at all times to soak duds with, and do not try to relight them.
• Don't light fireworks in any type of container, and never carry them in a pocket, because the friction of movement can cause them to light.
• Keep a first aid kit handy, and if serious injury is suffered seek medical attention immediately.
• Perhaps most important, never mix alcohol and fireworks.
• Be sure to check any city or town regulations prior to using fireworks.
For more information, visit the National Council on Fireworks Safety.
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