Cookouts, patriotic parades and fireworks. What better way to celebrate the summer and our nation’s founding?
But the Fourth of July is also a potentially dangerous holiday. Fireworks cause injuries and fires every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2008 fireworks injured 7,000 people and caused 22,500 fires.
Want to have fun and avoid the emergency room on the Fourth? Follow these 10 tips:
1. Make sure you only use legal fireworks. In Virginia, that means fireworks that stay on the ground:
- Allowed: Sparklers, fountains, pharaoh’s serpents, pinwheels and whirligigs
- Prohibited: Firecrackers, skyrockets, torpedoes and other fireworks that explode, rise into the air or fire projectiles into the air
2. Never let children play with or light fireworks. (They can use sparklers if you watch them carefully.)
3. Supervise kids when they play with sparklers. Many injuries come from sparklers, which reach very high temperatures, as much as 1,000 degrees.
4. Keep a bucket of water and a garden hose close by in case of a fire.
5. Use your water bucket to soak all of your used fireworks before throwing them away.
6. Don’t try to relight any “duds” (fireworks that didn’t ignite on the first try).
7. Only light one firework at a time and make sure to move away quickly after you light it.
8. Never point fireworks at another person.
9. Don’t point fireworks at houses, brush, leaves or other flammables.
10. Consider going to a fireworks display in your community instead of lighting fireworks at home.
Also, don’t forget about your pets! They’re often scared or stressed by loud fireworks. Leave them inside and don’t forget to check on them to make sure they’re ok.
How are you celebrating the Fourth this year? Let us know!