On Friday, July 4th, the United States of America will celebrate the 243rd year of becoming an independent nation. No one wants to put a damper on enthusiastic celebrations of Independence Day but before setting off those fountains and missiles, a little bit of planning and common sense can prevent a lot of problems.
In order to best prepare, here are a number of recommendations for any resident hoping to light a few firecrackers of their own this weekend. First and foremost, know the local laws. Remember, just like with driving and boating, alcohol and fireworks are not a good combination. A mishap can lead to serious injuries and a trip to the hospital.
Quality control on many fireworks are not up to the standards. Be careful using any brand. Finally, remember that not only your pets, but also surrounding neighbor pets have a hard time with fireworks explosions. Be mindful of this and move fireworks away from heavily residential areas.
Across the nation, July 4th is not only the busiest day of the year for fireworks, it’s the busiest day of the year for fires. About 40 percent of Independence Day structure fires are the result of fireworks, according to the National Fire Protection Association. About 250 people go to emergency rooms.
Sparklers are a good example of how people underestimate the danger of fireworks. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. They can quickly ignite clothing and leave young children with severe burns. According to the NFPA, sparklers account for more than 25 percent of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries.
The State Fire Marshal’s office suggests following these recommendations:
· Confirm fireworks are legal where you live; purchase fireworks only from licensed retailers.
· Only use fireworks in a large open space that has been cleared of flammable materials.
· Always keep young children away from fireworks; if teens are permitted to handle fireworks, they should be closely supervised by an adult; always wear eye protection.
· Make sure to have a garden hose or a bucket of water nearby in case of a fire.
· Only light fireworks one at a time; never try to re-light fireworks that have malfunctioned
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