Each year, we try to bring you some firework safety tips to keep your eyes sparkling and not sparklering. This year, we have a few facts and figures to shine some light on your light show, and how to make it memorable for all the right reasons, and none of the wrong ones.
What’s the Danger?
Well. There are the obvious factors that make the fourth a bit of a nightmare for emergency workers. While a bit of overconfidence with a cannon or some recklessness with a bottle rocket may seem the obvious answer, there is a lot more going on behind ER doors. Let’s take a look:
A Numbers Game
In 2016 alone, more than 11,000 firework-related injuries were reported. Here’s how those injuries break down:
More than 69% of these injuries were burns
One in five injuries reported included eye trauma
31% of victims were aged 15 and under
900 people were treated in Emergency Rooms for injuries involving sparklers
33% of injuries were inflicted on hands and fingers
Another 28% involved the face and head
Nearly 100% of them could have been avoided through additional safety steps!
In addition to the obvious and instant injuries your mom always suffered anxiety from in your youth, delayed and long-term damage can occur from even the least dangerous seeming artillery. From toddlers rubbing their eyes with gunpowder on their fingers from poppers to retinal burns caused by flecks and shrapnel, sometimes you don’t know you’re injured until the burning and stinging doesn’t fade days later.
If you notice burning or stinging of the eyes immediately after a firework display, please call your healthcare professional immediately. Some drops and salves can react poorly to chemicals, and adding them to gunpowder may result in further damage.
Safe to Spectate?
Well…. Not necessarily. More than 40% of people treated for injuries reported that they were not the one lighting the fireworks when they were hurt. That means that even when fireworks aren’t in your hands, firework safety is.
Be sure that children are kept at a safe distance, and keep the following near the audience, as well as near the staging area:
Buckets of Sand
A Live Hose
Separate sober adults in charge of a. occupying children and b. igniting fireworks
When accidents do happen, quickly extinguishing the fire and cooling burns are essential for minimizing damage.
Finding or crafting unique holiday themed safety goggles for those near the show can be a fun party favor after the fact, and the first time your goggles are hit with a loose ember, you’ll be infinitely glad you took the time!
Ditch the Duds
Whether you aren’t sure if you properly lit it, or if it simply fizzles out inexplicably, duds need to be done away with hastily. Douse any improperly functioning fireworks with water as soon as you can.
Don’t try to salvage old fireworks you forgot you had in the garage, and if you have leftover fireworks this year, Don’t Store Them in the Garage! Not only can this become a devastating disaster with a single spark, expired fireworks are unpredictable. While much of the sense of wonder that comes from the explosion comes from the unknown, there is definitely a limit to how much you don’t want to know. Trust us.
It Actually IS Rocket Science
If you find yourself dying to give your family a firework display, but don’t feel that you have the space to confidently keep them safe, we are right there with you. We like to leave the fire and gunpowder to the professionals, as well! Not only is attending a professional fireworks show safer, it gives your whole family an opportunity to actually enjoy the show! While you sit back and watch the look on your children’s faces, you’ll know that this is a memory you’re going to want to recreate for years to come.
Check out this Visit Omaha page for a list of professional shows in our area!
Thank you for letting ilumin be your be-seen team! Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!