Cobb & Douglas Public Health says be careful with fireworks

Prismatic fireworks -- public domain image from GDJ at https://openclipart.org/user-detail/GDJ

Cobb & Douglas Public Health wants you to have a safe Independence Day and urges families to attend public fireworks displays rather than set off fireworks at home.

A press release from the agency says, “According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 1 out of 3 of those injured by fireworks were under the age of 15 in 2014. Sparklers accounted for more than one-quarter of all firework-related injuries, and more than half of all injuries were burns. Most commonly, injuries affected the hands or fingers of an individual, followed by the eyes.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued the following guidelines for using fireworks:

  1. Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  2. Always keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or mishap.
  3. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  4. Sparklers are the largest culprit of fireworks-related injuries. Always closely supervise children when fireworks are being used.
  5. Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  6. Do not point or throw fireworks at another person.
  7. Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them from a metal or glass container.
  8. Light fireworks one at a time, then move back from them quickly.
  9. Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  10. 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.

The National Fire Protection Association recently issued a report on fireworks-related injuries and fires.  Some of the highlights were:

  • In 2013, fireworks caused an estimated 15,600 reported fires in the U.S., including 1,400 structure fires, 200 vehicle fires, and 14,000 outside and other fires.
  • More than one-quarter (28%) of fires started by fireworks in 2009-2013 were reported on Independence Day. Almost half (47%) of the reported fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks.
  • According to the CPSC, more than one-third (35%) of the people seen in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries from June 20-July 20, 2014 were under 15; nine percent were under five.
  • CPSC data show that sparklers alone accounted for more than one one-quarter (28%) of the emergency room fireworks injuries seen from June 20-July 20, 2014.

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Larry Felton Johnson
Larry Felton Johnson is the editor and publisher of the Cobb County Courier. He holds a degree in journalism from Georgia State University and enjoys exploring the county's trail and greenway network when he isn't covering county government meetings and court proceedings.

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