For many, the Fourth of July and fireworks go hand-in-hand. However, each year, fire officials warn that, when amateurs and explosives are involved, Fourth of July fireworks very easily leave someone handless – or worse.
According to Anthony Piland, Physician Assistant in the Emergency Room of the , "A major concern is fireworks burns. This is a common injury seen in the ER despite fireworks being illegal in Massachusetts. So we really discourage any use of fireworks unless you are a licensed professional."
According to data on a report titled “Leave Fireworks to Pros,” from 2002 to 2011, there were 804 major fire and explosion incidents involving illegal fireworks reported in Massachusetts, which caused one civilian death, 18 civilian injuries, four fire service injuries and an estimated $2.5 million loss.
Except by licensed professionals, the use of fireworks is illegal in Massachusetts, which has adopted the Model Fireworks Law. It’s also illegal to transport fireworks into Massachusetts, and illegal fireworks can be confiscated on the spot.
On its website, the Quincy-based National Fire Protection Association, which advocates for the avoidance of consumer fireworks and encourages folks to enjoy professional displays, offers some “Fireworks Safety Tips.”
Those tips -- attached above as a PDF -- are essentially a reminder the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to just watch the fireworks at a public display put on by professionals. They also note that sparklers and firecrackers burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than hot enough to melt glass and cause a nasty third-degree burn.
Speaking of sparklers, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, those little incense-looking light sticks cause 27 percent of all fireworks-related injuries.
With all that being said, surely there will be some who defy danger and law for the entertainment of a backyard barbeque. So for those in that category, a company called Phantom Fireworks, which bills itself as the nation’s premier consumer fireworks retailer, has released some safety tips for backyard shows.
“Phantom wants all our customers and friends to enjoy the fun and excitement of fireworks," said Bruce J. Zoldan, president of Phantom Fireworks, in a release on PRNewswire. "But we want them to do so in a safe and careful manner in areas where fireworks use will not endanger the environment. Unseasonably hot temperatures and dry conditions require extra precautions before, during and after a fireworks launch."
Those tips include:
- Select a large, paved surface when possible
- Keep fireworks away from wooded and grassy areas
- Soak the launch site before and all spent products after
- Keep a ready source of water available
- Designate an adult to watch the trajectory, make sure no fires are started and douse any that are
- Don’t let children or minors handle fireworks
Also, check out the videos above for a fuller picture.