DCHD & OFD: Fireworks Use Requires Safety
Tuesday, 28 June 2016 07:51
Nights are brighter and noisier since legislation was passed in 2010 that made many more fireworks legally available in Douglas County. But, legal fireworks for your Fourth of July celebration don’t always mean a safe holiday.
According to the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office, there were 176 reports of fireworks related injuries by hospitals and emergency care facilities in Nebraska last year around the July 4th holiday – an increase of 48 from the previous year. That included 59 people treated at hospitals in Douglas County. The Consumer Products Safety Division reports 11,400 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in 2013, the most recent year for which such statistics are available.
“If not handled properly, fireworks can cause life-changing injuries and even death,” said Douglas County Health Director, Dr. Adi Pour. “When inexperienced people use them, the dangers only increase.”
Safety begins with the decisions you make. Here are some fireworks safety tips:
· Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
· Light fireworks one at a time and move away quickly.
· Stick to using the fireworks that are legal in your area.
· Leave fireworks alone if they don’t work right the first time.
· Have a bucket of water or a garden hose to put out any fires.
Fingers and hands suffer the most injuries, but eyes, ears, facial and head injuries also are common, and burns account for more than half of all injuries. Small firecrackers and sparklers cause more injuries than any other fireworks. In Nebraska, sparklers with wire handles are not legal.
Men are far more likely to be injured than are women, and over half of those injured are people from 25 to 64 years old. Another 40 percent are suffered by children 8 to 14 years old.
“Fireworks also can damage property,” said Tim McCaw, Omaha Fire Department Battalion Chief for Fire Prevention. “In a typical year, more fires are reported on the Fourth of July than any other day, and many of those fires are caused by fireworks.”
The safest alternative is to attend a public fireworks display run by trained professionals.