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Celebrating Freedom Safely – Firework Tips for The Fourth of July

Happy (almost) Fourth of July. This holiday should be met with fun, family, and most of all, freedom. With this celebration, however, is danger in the form of a bright spectacle that lights up the sky. Fireworks, while beautiful, should be treated with extreme caution. In past years, fireworks have caused more than 11,000 injuries on this holiday alone.

If you do plan on setting off your own fireworks this year, use these tips to celebrate safely:

Know Your Fireworks
Before lighting any firework, read the instruction label. Some fireworks can be held in-hand, while others cannot. Never purchase a firework packaged in brown paper, as this means that it was made for a professional display only. Always have an adult supervise firework activities and closely follow all directions for firework use. Remember, even seemingly harmless fireworks, like sparklers, can burn hot enough to melt some metals. Always back up a safe distance immediately after lighting a firework, and set them off one at a time.

Avoid Alcohol
Never consume alcohol while shooting off fireworks. Most firework injuries occur from improper use, so you’re asking for disaster by combining the two. Designate a sober individual for this activity, just like you would for driving.

Outdoors Only
When you are shooting off fireworks, always light them outdoors. Choose a clear area free from buildings, vehicles, and loose debris. Make sure audience members stand a reasonable distance away, so they are not in harm’s way. Keep a bucket of water close, in case of accidents.

Never Point Fireworks at Others
We’ve all seen the crazy videos where someone points a firework at another and lights it. While this may look exciting, this action is incredibly unsafe. In 2017, 22% of firework injuries occurred on the head, face, and ears. You can help lower this statistic by implementing safe firework lighting practices. Most types of firework-related injuries can be treated at an urgent care center, but some may require a trip to the ER. Emergency rooms treat patients with the most severe injuries and conditions first, while urgent care centers are on a first-come, first-served basis. Read about your options and learn how a MD Now Urgent Care Center could treat your injuries faster, and less expensively.

Do Not Relight a Dud
A ‘dud’ is a firework that did not go off after being lit. Never relight a dud, or pick up a firework that failed to fully ignite. Wait at least 20 minutes after a failed attempt to soak the dud in a bucket of water. This will stop the firework from accidentally igniting at a later inconvenient time.

Keep Pets Indoors
Pets are often afraid of firework shows, so it is best to keep them indoors. As both loud noises, and unfamiliar places can be very scary to a pet, they may accidentally move into the path of a lit firework or cause a larger incident resulting in harm to others. Pay close attention to where you’re storing your fireworks to safeguard against accidents.

Please check and understand local firework ordinances and laws.

As we all know, accidents do happen. As you are enjoying your Fourth of July Holiday, if an accident or injury does occur, please remember your local MD Now is here for you!