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K-State Today

June 29, 2012

July 4th fireworks safety starts with common sense tips

Submitted by Lisa Linck

Using fireworks on our nation's birthday is as American as apple pie, backyard barbecues and parades on Main Street. And it is equally safe if a few common sense rules are followed, says Nancy Blogin, president of the National Council on Fireworks Safety.

Blogin notes that thanks to testing of consumer fireworks in China, through the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory and other testing programs, and rigorous enforcement of federal fireworks regulations by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, consumer fireworks today are safer than ever before. But Blogin said that fireworks-related accidents do occur each year, but most could be eliminated if some basic safety steps had been taken.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers these safety tips for using consumer fireworks in the hopes that injuries to consumers can be greatly reduced this season:

• Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.

• Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.

• Fireworks should only be used outdoors.

• Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.

• Know your fireworks. Read the caution label before igniting.

• Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.

• Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.

• Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.

• Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

• Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.

• Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: They can kill you!

• Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quartersticks, to the fire or police department

And note these special safety tips, if using sparklers:

• Always remain standing while using sparklers.

• Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.

• Never hold or light more than one sparkler at atime.

• Never throw sparklers.

• Sparkler wire and stick remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop spent sparklers in a bucket of water.

• Teach children not to wave sparklers or run while holding sparklers.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety urges Americans to follow these safety rules this Fourth of July in their holiday celebrations.