The Fourth of July rings in a day of patriotism and pride. There will be barbeques and picnics, parades and festivals followed by fabulous fireworks displays in towns and cities across the nation.
If you are lucky enough to live in or be in Seattle or Minneapolis, you will be treated to the two best Fourth of July celebrations in the nation. WalletHub factored in 16 metrics – including the duration of the fireworks display, average gas prices and weather forecasts – to pick their 10 best Independence Day celebrations. The rest of the top ten were: New Orleans; Washington, D.C.; Portland, Oregon; St. Louis; San Diego; Milwaukee; San Francisco and Orlando.
Whether it’s on the list of or not, hopefully your community will be holding a celebration too.
If you are planning to set off fireworks in a nearby park or near your home, you are urged to be very careful or skip that part of the celebration. It would be a shame if one of your children was injured or a neighbor’s home was burned by a bottle rocket or sparkler.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the majority of fireworks injuries in 2014 occurred in the 30 days surrounding the July 4th holiday, resulting in 10,500 people treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Pyrotechnics also caused an estimated 18,000 fires with 11 deaths. Children five to nine years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department injuries from fireworks.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that even sparklers burn at nearly 2,000 degrees, hot enough to melt wood, plastics and some metals, and inflict terrible burns on mostly young people. Most of the injuries were to the hands and fingers, head, face and the eyes; caused mainly from firecrackers, bottle rockets and sparklers. The Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks, coordinated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is calling for an end of the use of personal fireworks. Their goal is to educate parents and caretakers before more people get hurt or burned. They also urge people to attend professional community displays instead of using them at home.
Realizing fireworks are still used by families; the Consumer Product Safety Commission has developed these essential safety tips:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that they were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse and back up a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks
- Don’t try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person
- Always keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap
- Only light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them
Remember, while they may be pretty to watch, the damage from personal use of fireworks is more than just statistics or numbers; they are real victims – sons, daughters, parents and grandparents. Think before someone in your family goes to the emergency room.