Practice safety with fireworks

Fireworks during the Fourth of July are as American as apple-pie, but did you know that more fires are reported on that day than on any other day of the year in the United States? Nearly half of these fires are caused by fireworks.The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals. Many public fireworks displays are scheduled for this Fourth of July in and around Downey. Each July Fourth, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. The risk of fireworks injury is more than twice as high for children ages 10-14 as for the general population. Consumer fireworks include sparklers that burn at a temperature of more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause third-degree burns. The good news is you can enjoy your holiday and the fireworks, with just a few simple safety tips: 1) Always light fireworks outdoors away from combustible material, buildings and plants. 2) Read the warning or caution label carefully and follow all directions. 3) Always buy from a reliable seller. 4) Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them. 5) Close adult supervision is always needed. 6) If at all possible, don't store fireworks. If you have to store them, store them in a cool dry place and keep them out of the reach of children. 7) Always have water handy. (A hose or bucket). 8) Eye protection should be worn when lighting fireworks. 9) Only use fireworks as intended. Don't try to alter them or combine them. 10) No part of your body should be over the firework while lighting it. 11) Light one firework at a time. All other fireworks should be kept at a safe distance so they don't accidentally become lighted. 12) Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water before properly disposing. 13) Use common sense - Spectators should keep a safe distance from the "designated lighter". 14) Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a "designated lighter" to maintain a safe fireworks display. 15) Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type. 16) Soak discharged fireworks overnight in a bucket of water before disposing of them in a trashcan. 17) Do not ever use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives. Simple possession of even a small amount may be a felony under Federal and California Law. Illegal fireworks can seriously injure or kill! Report illegal explosives to the Downey Police or Fire Department. 18) Fireworks contain toxic compounds and heavy metals to produce bright colorful displays when ignited. To protect the environment from these materials, fireworks should be placed to prevent "run-off" contamination. 19) A large green lawn that's a safe distance from all structures is the best location for firework displays. 20) Never use fireworks in the street or on a public sidewalk as this will allow contamination to flow into the oceans through the storm drain system.

********** Published: June 30, 2011 - Volume 11 - Issue 10