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home : opinion : editorial
July 15, 2019

6/19/2019 3:07:00 PM
Fireworks safety

We know, the Fourth of July is still more than a week away.
However, the busiest time for lighting firecrackers, bottle rockets and other fireworks begins right now - about two weeks before the Fourth. We will probably start hearing fireworks around town in the next few weeks.
The sound can be annoying to some and will no doubt result in calls to the police. However, the bigger concern is the dangers surrounding fireworks.
Every year, we see stories about youngsters - and even adults - who lose fingers, damage their eyes, or undergo painful surgeries because of fireworks mishaps. In many cases, those same people handled the fireworks with extreme confidence. In other cases, parents were confident their children would act safely, that they were more than ready to experiment with fireworks.
Sometimes it is the overconfidence that gets you.
According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, eight people died in fireworks-related incidents during 2017. Another 12,900 were injured.
While we tend to focus on injuries, fireworks are also a source of fires. The National Fire Protection Association reports more fires are reported on July 4 than any other day in the year. The yearly fireworks-related average is 300 vehicle fires, 1,300 structure fires and 17,000 other fires.
While your best bet is to leave fireworks to the experts, the National Safety Council offers these fireworks facts for parents and others:
• Parents often don't realize that something as innocent as a sparkler burns at 2,000 degrees. Sparklers not only cause severe burns, but can quickly burn clothing.
• Bottle rockets (a small rocket attached to a stick) are used by teens in bottle rocket wars, resulting in head and eye injuries.
• Firecrackers are supposed to be lit and explode on the ground, often in a series. However, youth often put them inside things to create explosions, which scatter debris and cause injuries.
• Roman candles eject exploding shells from a handheld tube. Too often, children lose fingers when the device gets jammed.
It is clearly not too early for families to begin talking about fireworks safety.
    - Rahn Larson

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