Staying safe around fireworks

Published 8:42 am Saturday, July 1, 2017

By Van Wade

The Orange Leader

It’s that time of the year where America celebrates a tremendous holiday _ Independence Day.

That also means that children and “grown children” as well, will be out in driveways and parking lots across Orange County and America popping fireworks.

Robbie Hood, City Administrator of Pinehurst, wants people be cautious and aware but have fun on the holiday coming up.

“Most municipalities prohibit the popping of fireworks within their city limits and I want all citizens to remember this,” said Hood. “The city of Pinehurst wishes every citizen in Orange County a happy and safe 4th of July weekend.”

Each July 4, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using fireworks.

Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires.

These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage.

In 2015, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,900 people for fireworks related injuries. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 26 percent of the injuries.

The numbers were provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2015 Fireworks Annual Report and The National Council on Fireworks Safety.

There are a slew of recommended safety tips to keep families safe and yet have fun.

  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks
  • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting
  • A responsible adult should supervise all fireworks activities. Never give fireworks to children
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks
  • Light one firework and then quickly move away
  • Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and soak it in a bucket of water
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police departments

One other item to remember is the safety of all pets, who can get nervous with all of the noise. A few tips:

  • Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small on
  • If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to sound
  • Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display
  • Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets.

Here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful Fourth of July Holiday!