Happy Independence Day, everyone!
Each year, celebrating the 4th of July is an event to look forward to. Now, before you click off of this blog, we’re not here to give the classic “You’ll poke your eye out!” firework speech. Of course, yes fireworks are dangerous. On top of fireworks being bundles of hurt, the 4th is America’s top drinking holiday, with an estimated $1 billion+ spent on beer alone in 2018.
So let’s talk about a few quick reminders to hopefully help avoid an injury.
Just remember, if you blow off a finger or actually do poke your eye out, how will you launch more fireworks next year?
- On the topic of actually launching fireworks, simply being familiar with the product can go a long way. Reading packaging can inform the user of many of the associated risks as well as where, when, and how to launch. Not only does launching correctly increase safety, it also assures you get more bang for your buck!
- Dress appropriately. Although the 4th is typically a rather warm holiday, avoiding loose-fitting clothing can prevent injuries. Pieces of launched fireworks, sparks, ash, and similar objects can easily slip down ill-fitting clothes. Did you know that sparklers burn at a temperature of about 2,000 degrees? According to www.steelforge.com, that’s enough to melt some types of iron! Imagine that touching your skin.
- Spectate from a proper distance! Whether viewing a professional-grade show or simply celebrating on your own, this tip is especially important. Gravity doesn’t take Independence Day off; plopping down directly beneath exploding fiery displays isn’t the best idea.
- Wear glasses. Yeah, go ahead and complain about how this one could be grouped in with the “dress appropriately” section. But being ophthalmology focused, we’re all about the eyes. Any time you deal with something that could alter vision, safety glasses are a good idea. Www.cpsc.gov data suggests that around 19% of annual firework injuries are eye-related... Being able to see is pretty cool, right?
- Be prepared for an emergency. Infinite things can happen when something as volatile as fireworks are brought into play. Making sure you have the ability to respond to different occurrences is important. Make sure to have a fire extinguisher handy, as well as a first aid kit. Hopefully neither one is used, but playing it safe is always the route to take!
- Don’t attempt to re-light “dud” fireworks. We’ve all seen it- someone lights a firework, and… nothing happens. But don’t let that mild annoyance tempt you into doing something dumb. Messing with a firework that should have detonated is a disaster waiting to happen. The best thing to do in these scenarios is give it more time- don’t approach it. Once enough time has passed, soaking these fireworks in water is safer than just tossing it aside.
Fireworks have always been a 4th of July tradition in America, but maybe all the injuries shouldn’t be. Realistically speaking, there will always be risks involved with any given holiday. But, making an effort to avoid and prepare can make the difference. While following our tips above doesn’t necessarily guarantee safety, they serve as a great starting point.
Happy 244th birthday, America!