This Wednesday, sales of fireworks become legal in Georgia.
Medical professionals urge safety when setting off fireworks, noting that many people end up in emergency rooms with injuries. This past weekend’s disaster at a crowded celebration in Taiwan, when decorative sprays of colored powder ignited and burned about 500 people, shows the danger of carelessness with potentially dangerous substances.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta says burns are the most common fireworks-related injury to all parts of the body except the eyes, where contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eyes occur more frequently.
Dr. Natalie Lane, medical director of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia Emergency Department in Augusta, says, “A sparkler can burn as hot as a blowtorch; and, unfortunately, we have had to treat children with sparkler burns several times. But these are avoidable injuries, if families will carefully follow safety procedures.”
Here are some fireworks safety tips Dr. Lane recommends:
1. Always read and follow directions on the label carefully.
2. Adults should always supervise young children when the kids are around fireworks. Even sparklers, which are assumed to be safe, should be supervised.
3. If a firework is deemed a “dud” after not going off once lighted, do not stand near it to see what’s wrong. Instead, wait 15 to 20 minutes; then put the “dud” out with water and dispose of it.
4. Never shoot fireworks off in metal or glass containers. Instead, light them outdoors on a smooth, flat surface away from homes, leaves, or other flammable materials.
5. Always keep some type of water source on hand in case of fire. A large bucket of water or garden hose will do the trick.
6. Light fireworks one at a time. Lighting multiple fireworks simultaneously could cause the person setting the fireworks to catch fire or be hit by a firework that goes off early.