Sparklers, firecrackers and Roman candles are a traditional part of Fourth of July and Independence Day celebrations and gatherings. But fireworks also are dangerous explosives that cause millions of dollars in property damage and nearly 10,000 emergency room visits nationally each year.
“Every year, we see an uptick in injuries caused by fireworks,” Seals Ambulance President Randal Seals said. “Emergency rooms are flooded with fireworks injuries, including burns on the arms and face, scarring, ear trauma, eye injuries and even in rare instances, loss of limb.”
Mishaps from fireworks often are due to unsafe handling or being too close to the devices. But defects, including short fuses and overcharging, also can cause injuries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that a national average of 200 people are admitted daily to emergency rooms for fireworks injuries during the month-long period around July 4.
Seals Ambulance recommends leaving fireworks for the pros as the safest option for families this holiday weekend. If you do plan to use fireworks this Independence Day, Seals Ambulance recommends checking local and state laws in your community prior to purchasing or using fireworks.
Indiana has laws governing the use of fireworks that passed in 2013. To purchase fireworks, individuals must be 18 or older. When using fireworks, an adult, age 18 or older, must be present. Fireworks only can be used on property owned by the individual or if given express permission for that purpose by the property owner.
If operating fireworks this holiday, follow these tips:
- Purchase fireworks from reliable distributors.
- Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby.
- Do not wear loose-fitting clothing.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
- Young children should never be allowed to play with fireworks of any type.
- Children under 15 are the most likely population to sustain fireworks-related injuries and should always be supervised by an adult.
- According to the CPSC, sparklers top the list of common fireworks that cause injuries. A standard sparkler can burn up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause severe burns or eye injuries.
- Never open the fireworks packaging. The powder inside fireworks is highly flammable. If powder gets on skin, it can ignite, causing serious burns.
- Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks. Don’t place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
- Never relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. Soak in water and discard them.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Fireworks frighten animals and are a leading cause of runaway pets, especially dogs, in the summer. Do not have animals outside when igniting fireworks.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or ignite them in metal or glass containers.
“The safest way to enjoy fireworks this year is to take advantage of one of the many licensed, professional fireworks shows that take place throughout Central Indiana,” Seals said. “If you do decide to purchase personal fireworks, celebrate the Fourth safely and legally.”
The City of Indianapolis is putting on its free annual Downtown Freedom Blast fireworks show from the on top of the Regions Bank Tower. The festival with free food and live music begins at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 4, before a spectacular fireworks presentation at dark.
About Seals Ambulance
Based in Indianapolis, Seals Ambulance provides emergency and nonemergency transport services to multiple hospital and facility contracts in Central Indiana, as well as emergency 911 service for various regions throughout Indiana. An extensive fleet allows Seals Ambulance to serve a wide area around-the-clock with prompt response time and quality service. Seals Ambulance is the contracted provider for several venues, including Klipsch Music Center and Indiana Downs Horse Track, and is the preferred provider for the Community Health Network, which includes six Community Hospitals and several community medical centers throughout Indianapolis and Anderson, St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital and the Indiana University Health Network. Seals Ambulance is a regional branch of Priority Ambulance, a national ambulance network.