Fireworks are a big part of just about any Fourth of July celebration, and they can be a fun way to pass summer evenings long after Independence Day has come and gone. But as with any activity that involves lighting a match, using fireworks responsibly is key to keeping everyone safe and happy at your next get-together.
Approximately 10,000 burn injuries a year are attributed to fireworks, with many requiring emergency care. Mishandled fireworks are also to blame for nearly 20,000 unwanted fires each year. Don’t become a statistic! Follow these safety tips to help your at-home fireworks display run smoothly.
Check and double-check your local fireworks laws. Rules and guidelines can change, and neglecting to follow them can spell out big fines and irritated neighbors.
Follow the directions on each individual firework carefully. Fireworks come in all varieties and you should know what to expect before you light the fuse. If you receive a “dud,” never attempt to relight it.
Do not allow children to handle fireworks. Fireworks should always be let off by an adult in a clear area away from cars and homes. Also, avoid setting off fireworks alone. It’s always a good idea to have another adult present just in case.
Always wear safety glasses when shooting off fireworks. This is especially important for the individual lighting the fuse, but glasses are also great for bystanders.
Do not stand directly over a firework when lighting it. Quickly back away from the firework once it is lit. Never ignite a single firework more than once and don’t let off more than one at a time.
Keep a bucket of water and hose nearby just in case. This will help you be prepared for emergencies and allow you to douse small fires, sparks and ashes easily if they occur. Be sure to also pour water on previously lit fireworks before throwing them away.
Identifying A Minor Burn
Sometimes, even when we’re doing our best to keep ourselves and others safe, injuries can still happen. Minor burns, or first-degree burns and second-degree burns, can usually be treated at home, but it’s important to know the characteristics.
- are usually red in appearance, and may look and feel similar to a sunburn
- may involve moderate swelling
- may be mildly to severely painful
- are red, white or splotchy in appearance
- are accompanied by swelling
- may be quite painful
- often involve blisters
Remember, burns that are considered minor are always small. If a burn is bigger than a few inches, it may need emergency medical attention. The face, hands, feet, joints, groin and backside are all areas of special concern, and if a burn covers any one of them, seek a physician’s care. Burns that involve excessive swelling and discharge or that leave skin black, waxy white or leathery are likely third- or fourth-degree burns that could cause lasting damage to nerves, muscle and bone. Head to the emergency room immediately if any of these symptoms describe your injury.
Treating A Minor Burn
To relieve a minor burn, hold the affected area under cool running water for 10 to 15 minutes to ease the pain. You can also apply a clean, damp towel to the area if a source of running water isn’t available.
Once the majority of the pain has ceased, dry the area gently. Apply an aloe vera gel, like LovelySkin Aloe Vera Soothing Skin Relief Gel, or a hydrocortisone formula, like FixMySkin Healing Body Balm Unscented with 1% Hydrocortisone, to help soothe and hydrate the burn and promote healing. You can then take an over-the-counter pain relief medicine, like Advil, to further address inflammation and stay comfortable.
Do you have a question about firework safety? Let us know in the comments section.