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Safety first with fireworks

July 3, 2009
The Daily Mining Gazette

Enjoying fireworks displays at dusk is synonymous with Fourth of July celebrations, however, state and local law enforcement officials want area residents to know the rules in order to stay safe this Independence Day.

"Fireworks can quickly turn a Fourth of July celebration into a tragedy when children and adults are injured while using fireworks," said State Fire Marshal Ronald R. Farr.

"For all the fun and excitement of fireworks, they account for an increasingly large number of injuries and fires that are preventable when proper and strict safety measures are taken," Farr said.

Farr encourages people to attend professional displays run by their municipalities.

"The only safe way to enjoy fireworks is at a distance, leaving the danger and the worry to professionals," he said.

The most important thing you can do for your family is to properly educate them about fireworks and you do this by setting a good example.

Follow simple guidelines for safe use:

Stay away from illegal explosives.

Obey the local laws and use common sense.

Read the fireworks instructions and follow them. If an item looks damaged, do not attempt to use it.

Purchase fireworks only from reputable established dealers. Legal fireworks are tested as to quality and safety. Never attempt to build your own fireworks.

A responsible adult should supervise all fireworks usage. Youngsters should watch, but not handle fireworks. When used properly, all fireworks can be safe.

Fireworks are meant to be used one at a time. Do not attempt to combine or mix fireworks. Fuses have different burn rates. Actions like this invite accidents.

Fireworks should never be pointed or thrown at anyone. Make sure people and animals are a safe distance away fireworks being set off. Use them only outdoors, and away from houses and vehicles.

Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.

Caution is important. Use protective eye wear and keep a water hose nearby. Don't try to re-light a dud. Soak it in water.

Michigan's firefighters and emergency medical personnel know all too well of the danger of fireworks.

The majority of fireworks-related injuries are burns, followed by contusions and lacerations, and most frequently involve hands and fingers, eyes, head and face.

The risk of fireworks injury is two-and-a-half times higher for children as for the general population. Parents and caregivers play a critical role in keeping children safe.

Although legal, sparklers present a serious danger because of the high temperature of the wire during and after its use.

"Many children are badly burned by sparklers each year," said Farr. "They can burn as high as 1,200 degrees and stay hot long after they've burned out. Promptly dispose of the wires in a bucket of water."

Let's make this Fourth of July a safe holiday.



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