July 4 fireworks safety: Leave professional pyrotechnics to the pros

July 4 fireworks safety: Leave professional pyrotechnics to the pros

Consumer Reports News: June 26, 2012 04:38 PM

We know you've heard it before, but it's time for the annual warning to all wannabe pyrotechnicians to be careful with fireworks this July 4 holiday.

Though such warnings go back practically to July 4, 1776, there's an added danger these days: more powerful, professional-grade fireworks that can do very serious damage in the wrong hands. Last year, 9,600 people were injured by either professional-grade or homemade firework devices, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and four people died. Most often, the injuries were burns to hands and heads, including eyes, face, and ears. Sparklers, firecrackers, and aerial devices were associated with the most incidents.

With Independence Day around the corner, we want to remind you of some of the CPSC's fireworks safety steps:

  • Don't 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 nonprofessional users.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
  • Don't try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass container.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding them to prevent a trash fire.

For additional safety tips and details see Would you let your kids handle a blowtorch? plus our summer safety package for other summer fun cautions and how to best protect yourself from the sun, bugs and more.

CPSC Special Study on Fireworks Incidents Finds Hundreds of Injuries a Day Surrounding July 4 Holiday Festivities [CPSC]

Maggie Shader

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