June 22, 2010 - Before you think about lighting up firecrackers for Independence Day, play it safe. Each year, fireworks-related injuries send about 7,000 people to U.S. hospital emergency rooms and cause thousands of structural and vehicle fires.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are more U.S. fires typically reported on Independence Day than any other day in the year. Fireworks account for half of those fires, more than any other cause.
If fireworks are legal in your community and someone has plans to set them off, follow these tips recommended by the National Safety Council on Firework Safety:
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and flammable materials.
- Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Keep a bucket of water or hose nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Do not buy illegal explosives.
- Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then placing them in a trash can.
The best way to enjoy fireworks, safety experts say, is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals.