Americans celebrate the independence of our country with family time, grilling out, and fireworks. Professional fireworks shows can be found throughout our county as well as neighboring counties. These fireworks displays are beautiful and are enjoyed by both children and adults.

As we all gather with our families to celebrate the 4th of July, it is important to remember to keep ourselves and our families safe. In 2017, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks-related injuries; 54% of those injuries were to the extremities and 36% were to the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated 2017 injuries.

These injury estimates were obtained or derived from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2015 Fireworks Annual Report by Yongling Tu.

While the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to leave them to the professionals, many families celebrate by using fireworks in their own back yard. Follow these safety tips when using fireworks at home to keep your family safe and out of the emergency room this Independence Day:

— Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks

— Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities even when using sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees which is hot enough to melt some metals.

— Fireworks packaged in brown paper are made for professional displays – avoid buying these.

— Buy from reliable fireworks sellers and follow label directions.

— Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

— 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 point or throw fireworks at another person.

— Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol

— Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire and to douse used fireworks before discarding in trash.

— Never allow young children to play or ignite fireworks.

— Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

— Never try to re-light or pickup fireworks that have not ignited fully.

— Never place a part of your body directly over a firework device when lighting.

— Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

— In case of injury from fireworks, ensure that there is an individual who is capable of driving to the hospital at all times.

— If you seriously injure yourself while using fireworks, visit the emergency room immediately.

As we celebrate this 4th of July, it is so important to remember that fireworks can be as dangerous as they are beautiful. For questions or further information call the Appanoose County Public Health office at 641-437-4332. Appanoose County Public Health staff want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy Independence Day.

Appanoose County Public Health strives to prevent disease, injury and disability as well as promote physical and mental health to the citizens of Appanoose County. We protect and improve the health and wellness of individuals, families, and our community, through education, intervention, and prevention.

Fun Fact

Walt Disney Company is the largest consumer of fireworks in the world and the second largest purchaser of explosive devices, right behind the U.S. Department of Defense.