Safety Tips for a Fun Fourth of July

Can you imagine spending the last few hours of the Fourth of July getting surgery in the presence of a bomb squad? That’s how one man from Indiana spent his holiday after having an explosive metal ball lodged in him from a misfired firework that still had the potential to detonate.

The Fourth of July is a wonderful time to relax by the pool, eat some delicious BBQ and spend quality time with friends and family. We all want to have a memorable holiday weekend; don’t let it be for the wrong reasons. The Fourth is one of the busiest days of the year for hospitals and emergencies rooms. Last year, there were 5 deaths and over 9,000 injuries from fireworks alone, which was down from the 8 deaths and 12,900 injuries in 2017. Grilling injuries, dehydration and drownings are just a few of the many causes that ruin countless Fourth of July festivities every year.

Stay Cool in the July Heat

July is one of the hottest months of the year. Be sure to stay hydrated and spend time in the shade to avoid heat exhaustion. If you go to a pool, lake or ocean, don’t swim alone or leave kids unattended in the water. According to the Present P. Child Drowning study, most children who drown have been out of sight for less than five minutes. If you are on a boat, be sure to have life vests for all passengers, and don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or any other substance. The same applies for all motorized vehicles. The Fourth is one of the deadliest days to be on the road, resulting in over 100 deaths each year.

Leave the Fireworks to the Pros

Each year, fireworks cause, on average, 1,300 structure fire, 300 vehicle fires and nearly 17,000 other fires, leading to thousands of injuries. The majority of these incidents are caused by amateurs attempting to set off professional-grade, homemade or illegal fireworks. A common misconception is that sparklers are a safer alternative to fireworks and are often given to children to play with. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—which is hot enough to burn some metals—and can quickly light clothing on fire or cause severe burns. Children under the age of 5 accounted for about half of the sparkler-related injuries in 2018. Overall, it’s better to sit back, relax and leave the firework show to the professionals. However, if you choose to light them yourself, here are some safety tips:

  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of a fire.
  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks or any other device.
  • Don’t use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
  • Never light them indoors.
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material.
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.
  • Never ignite devices in a container.
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Soak unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.

With these precautions in mind, the Sospes team would like to wish you a wonderful, safe Fourth of July!

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By Leah Carson

July 1, 2019

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