As the Fourth of July approaches, many Americans are looking forward to a post-pandemic holiday without social distancing restrictions. But health and safety experts are warning of another safety risk associated with the holiday — amateur fireworks displays.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2019 more than 7,000 people were sent to hospital emergency rooms with fireworks injuries in a one-month period before and after the holiday. Those injuries include loss of fingers, serious burns to the hands and face and eye injuries. Nearly half of those injured were younger than age 20, and two thirds were male.
Health and safety officials naturally recommend that people watch professional fireworks displays instead of setting off their own. If you do set off your own fireworks, experts say, follow these guidelines:
* Don’t let children light or play with fireworks.
* Don’t light multiple fireworks at the same time.
* If one is a dud, do not pick it up or try to relight it.
* Don’t try to take fireworks apart or modify them in any way.
* Keep a garden hose or bucket of water handy just in case.
In Marion County, it is legal to set off backyard pyrotechnics at the following times:
* 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset June 28 through July 3
* 10 a.m. to midnight on July 4
* 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset July 5 through July 9
If you live elsewhere, check your county’s website for designated hours.
In addition to fireworks injuries, health officials say they also see an uptick in holiday injuries related to outdoor cooking. Safety experts recommend:
* Only use propane and charcoal grills outdoors and well away from deck railings, eaves and tree branches.
* If you’re the cook, be mindful of your alcohol intake.
* Keep children away from grilling area.
* Clean your grill between uses to remove grease or fat buildup.
* Don’t leave the grill unattended.