Firework Safety By Melissa Esham 6/30/2017 Every July 4th, thousands of people, very often children and teens, are injured while using fireworks. Despite the dangers, few people understand the associated risks - devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death. According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), · Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage. · In 2015, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,900 people for fireworks related injuries; 51% of those injuries were to the extremities and 41% were to the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for one-quarter (26%) of the estimated 2015 injuries. The NFPA does not recommend the use of ANY consumer fireworks. The National Council on Fireworks Safety does provide these tips for fireworks safety: Recommended Safety Tips Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks. Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting. A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show. Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks. Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away. Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles. Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water. Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby. Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers. Do not experiment with homemade fireworks. Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day. FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage. Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department. And let’s not forget the safety of our pets! Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one. If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound. Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display. Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets. We hope all of you have a safe and happy 4th of July and encourage you to consider leaving fireworks to the professionals and enjoy your local fireworks display.