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Ideas for using fireworks safely this Fourth of July

Summer means picnics, barbecues, parades and fireworks displays, espec-ially around the 4th of July.  Summer also means an increase in injuries from backyard grills, bonfires and fireworks. In 2005, an estimated 10,800 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, nearly half of whom were under 15 years old.
Children between the ages of 10 and 14 were at three times the risk of fireworks injuries than the general population. About a third of the injuries were from small firecrackers, 21 percent from bottle rockets and 20 percent from sparklers. In 2004, fireworks caused $21 million in direct property damage.
The National Safety Council advises that the best way to safely enjoy this 4th of July is to watch a public fireworks display conducted by professionals.
However, if fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to use them, be sure to follow these important safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
  • Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision.
  • Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from onlookers, houses and flammable materials.
  • Light one device at a time; maintain a safe distance after lighting.
  • Do not allow any running or horseplay while fireworks are being used.
  • Never ignite devices in a container.
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks; douse and soak them with water and discard them safely.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire.

Editor's note: Permission to reprint granted by the National Safety Council, a membership organization dedicated to protecting life and promoting health.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.