Take care setting off fireworks

Published 11:14 am Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fireworks are synonymous with summer. They mark special occasions, festivals and warm-weather holidays like Independence Day. When handled by professionals, fireworks can be quite the spectacle. However, if lit by amateurs, fireworks can be very risky.

Though they offer awe-inspiring views, fireworks can be dangerous. According to data collected in 2008 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 7,000 people in the United States were treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained from fireworks during the period of June 20 to July 20, 2008. Nearly half of all people injured were children under the age of 15. Most injuries occurred to young people under the age of 20.

All types of fireworks have an inherent danger, even sparklers. Sparklers burn at more than 1,000 degrees and can ignite clothing very quickly. Those who take an active roll in the lighting and shooting of fireworks are more prone to injury. The most common injuries include burns and injuries to the eyes caused by cuts and foreign objects lodged in the eyes.

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Although fireworks injuries are common, they also are largely preventable. The further the distance away the display is, the better chance for safety.