Have a Firecrackin’ Fourth!


Starting tonight and heading straight through the long weekend, Americans across the country will light up the night sky with patriotic fireworks displays, a staple of Independence Day festivities. Unfortunately–and perhaps unsurprisingly, given their nature–the fireworks frenzy comes with a price. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fireworks have caused tens of thousands of fires and millions of dollars of property damage, not to mention thousands of injuries ranging from minor burns to blindness.

Image courtesy of Livingston Township

Did those statistics scare you away from hosting your own fireworks show and send you running for your local town-sponsored one? Good. Public displays are the safest way to enjoy fireworks. But if you’re bent on lighting your own, remember these tips to ensure a safe holiday for you and your family:

 

-NEVER allow children to handle or light ANY type of fireworks. Even supervised children are more likely to injure themselves than responsible adults. Many people believe that sparklers are a fun way for children to celebrate, but the fact is that sparklers burn at over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and are responsible for 31% of all fireworks-related injuries–more than any other kind.

-Direct fireworks away from people, animals, homes, trees, and vehicles. This is a no-brainer–don’t aim explosives at people or things you care about. Make sure there is plenty of open space around the ignition site before lighting any kind of fireworks. Make sure to light your fireworks one at a time and move away quickly after lighting. Different kinds of fireworks have different ranges, so be sure to check the packages to determine how wide of a berth you’ll need.

Image courtesy of CPFC

-Always wear eye and ear protection when lighting fireworks. Eyes and ears are among the most commonly injured body parts in fireworks accidents, and the injuries often have long-term effects, including deafness and blindness. Exercise caution with this in mind.

-Dispose of fireworks properly. Allow fireworks to cool before picking them up and keep a hose or bucket of water nearby to douse all fireworks–used AND unused–before disposing of them. If a firework doesn’t go off, don’t relight it, as it might go off unexpectedly and harm people and/or property.

-Secure pets in a confined area. Many pets get frightened by the loud noises and flashing lights that fireworks create, and thus are more likely to bolt away from your home or yard. Keep them in enclosed spaces like a fenced-in yard or a crate. If your pets are especially anxious around fireworks, ask your veterinarian to recommend a safe calming method.

-Keep an eye out for fires. Clear your yard and gutters clear of flammable materials such as leaves and pinecones. Check nearby trees and houses for sparks after you light each firework and call the fire department immediately if anything catches fire.

-Never use homemade or illegal fireworks. Fireworks-related deaths are rare, but all 8 of such fatalities last year occurred as a result of using homemade or illegal fireworks, not to mention the 8,600 others who sustained injuries in this manner. Avoid buying fireworks that is packaged in plain brown paper, as this is a sign that the merchandise was designed for professional pyrotechnic displays and pose a serious risk to the average consumer.

 

The Agency by the Mall team wishes all our customers a happy and safe Fourth of July!

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