With the July 4th weekend fast approaching, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is reporting an increase in fireworks-related deaths and injuries, and is urging consumers to exercise caution, especially around kids.
No Fourth of July celebration is complete without a spectacular fireworks display. While there are plenty of famous spots across the country to watch an Independence Day extravaganza, many people will attempt to set fireworks off in their own backyards.
Before you light up any bottle rockets, or even sparklers, the Consumer Products Safety Commission, says you need to be sure what you are doing - eight people died in 2013 of firework related injuries and more than 11,000 were injured.
Here's how you can stay safe this July 4th holiday weekend.
Use a reliable source
Because legal firework businesses operate with a business license, they purchase products from vetted importers who test the firework products that meet government regulations. Illegal businesses could get their product from anywhere, subjecting the buyer to short fuses or illegal explosives instead of firecrackers. Last week, a man was arrested in California for trying to sell 1,800 pounds of illegal fireworks
Follow the directions
Following product safety labels can save someone from losing a limb or even a life. There have been a 30 percent increase in firework fatalities this past year, Bob Adler with CPSC told NBC News. Out of 35 incidents of firework accidents the CPSC investigated, 17 injuries were due to misuse of the product.
A responsible ADULT should supervise all firework activities.
Fireworks should never find their way into the hands of children. Children younger than 15 accounted for 40 percent of firework injuries in 2013 according to CPSC's annual report. But even for professionals, handling fireworks is no cakewalk. Last year, firework shell malfunctions left 41 injured
at a California Fourth of July event. Pedro Loredo, a doctor in Plano, Texas, said that most of his patients with firework-related injuries
are between ages 4 and 12. Sparklers can be a special hazard because they burn so hot, he said.
Outdoors is better than indoors
Fireworks should always be set outside in an open area away from trees, buildings, and people. A New York man set off fireworks in his apartment
last January, killing himself and forcing the building to evacuate.
Keep your water supply handy
Save the beer for the barbecue. Having water around fireworks will help put out any potential fires that can start and could minimize injury or damage of property.
Don't experiment with homemade fireworks
Homemade fireworks are extremely dangerous because they are unregulated and can act like bombs. Illegal distributors could be getting explosives from people making them in basements or in the back of barns, National Council on Firework Safety spokesman, Ralph Apel said. Last year, a Texan woman and her husband suffered serious injuries during a homemade fireworks
show, while the couple was traveling in Greece.
Never relight a “dud” firework
“Duds” can sometimes have delayed reactions. When Jameson Lamb went to celebrate Independence Day two years ago in Michigan, he and his friends thought the Roman Candles they set off were done before Lamb was struck in the eye, causing partial blindness, he told NBC News.