Its coming up to be that extra patriarchal time of year. Were getting ready to dust off the BBQ, un pack the back yard games and spend some quality time with family and friends in celebration of our independence. Yes, the Fourth of July can be filled with such sweet, summer memories. With the Fourth, there always comes those glittery night skies, filled with epic displays of fireworks accompanied with a crowd of “Oos” & Aaahs”. But before you roll out your picnic mat & claim your front row seat for the upcoming light exhibit, lets first make sure everyone knows how to celebrate safely when handling fireworks.
If not handled properly, fireworks can cause some serious injuries and damages. The best way to protect your family and friends is not to use fireworks at home — period. Try and leave it to the trained experts and attend a public firework display.
Lighting fireworks at home isn’t even legal in most places, but if dad still cant let it go & is determined to make a mini spectacle at home, you better be sure to check with your local police department first. If they do so happen to be legal where you live, the San Bernardino personal injury attorneys at Panish, Shea & Boyle want you to keep the following safety tips in mind:
Know the Label & Keep it Legal
- Buy only legal fireworks. You can tell if the fire works are legal by a label that has the manufacturer’s name and directions. Illegal fireworks are unlabeled, for good untraceable reason! Illegal fireworks usually go by the heavy artillery names like M-80, M100, blockbuster, or quarterpounder. These explosives were banned in 1966, but still account for so many fireworks injuries.
Keep the kids away
- Please don’t let the children handle fireworks. Things like firecrackers, rockets even sparklers are just too dangerous for the little ones. If you do give kids sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and advise them to keep them away from their face, clothes, and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800°F (982°C) — this is hot enough to melt even gold. Never allow for your kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
- Do not experiment and try to make your own fireworks.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show and steer clear of others — fireworks are known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even just for a brief moment of jest.
Check Your Surroundings
- Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and any notable flammable substances. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to over 50,000 fires each caused by fireworks alone.
Handle With Care
- Don’t hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body hovering over them whilst lighting. Make sure to light one firework at a time (not in glass or metal containers), and never relight a dud firework. The National County of Fire Work Safety recommends to wait 20 minutes and soak it in a bucket of water before throwing away in the trash. Wear some sort of eye protection, and avoid carrying fireworks in your pocket — the friction can set them off.
Protect Your Pets
- Don’t forget about all the other little critters enjoying the balmy nights air. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July. Keep your pets indoors to reduce the risk that they’ll run loose or get injured.
In case of an Emergency
- Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of accidents. It’s a good idea to soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can. If someone is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, do not touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage. Also, don’t flush the eye out with water or attempt to put any ointment on it. Instead, cut out the bottom of a paper cup, place it around the eye, and immediately seek medical attention — their eyesight may depend on it. If it’s a burn, remove clothing from the burned area and run cool, not cold, water over the burn (do not use ice). Call your doctor immediately.
Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed, but we will all enjoy them a lot more knowing the neighborhood is safe. Take extra precautions this Fourth of July and lets have a non consequential blast!