July 4 is the most common holiday for fireworks in the United States. The appealing colors and images fireworks create is a fun family event, but the immense dangers are a greater concern for national organizations of fireworks safety.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2006 49 percent of emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 46 percent were to the head. Their report also found that one-third of people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15.
“When handled by professionals, a fireworks show may look easy, but each year they cause injury, death and property damage because of misuse and accidents,” said Jim Greeson, State Fire Marshal in a recent statement.
Common bodily injuries involving fireworks include arms, eyes, fingers, the face and legs.
Dr. Tres Scherer, director of trauma services at Riley Hospital said at least a dozen children come into the hospital from fireworks injury, and the most common are eye injuries from using sparklers.
To eliminate injury and death from the use of fireworks, the National Council on Fireworks Safety suggests having a water hose, or bucket of water present before using fireworks, never relight a firework that has already been used and use fireworks outdoors only.
“The easy way to eliminate injury is to simply not have children play with fireworks. Fireworks are for display only, and shouldn’t be played with,” said Scherer.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) encourages citizens to obey the laws when operating fireworks. IDHS said on Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day and New Year’s Eve, fireworks may be discharged from 9 a.m. until midnight, and non-holidays fireworks may be discharged from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m.
“We want to stress the personal responsibility of each fireworks consumer. Obey our laws, follow directions for safe use and most importantly, apply common sense,” said Greeson.
Also, when buying fireworks the National Council of Fireworks Safety recommends consumers only purchase fireworks from a licensed store, tent or stand. They also said, never buy fireworks from an individual’s house, or from someone on the street because they may contain illegal explosives or professional 1.3 G fireworks that can cause serious injuries.
Illegal explosives are often unpackaged and wrapped with plain brown paper. Many of these hazardous items are often handmade in basements or illicit factories and go by names such as M-80, Quarter Stick or Cherry Bombs.
“Every time we see these young children, 99 percent of these injuries can be prevented by safe precautions,” said Scherer.
For more information on fireworks safety, visit www. Fireworksafety.com