Earlier this month, two NFL players lost fingers in firework-related accidents occurring over the Independence Day weekend. Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback C.J. Wilson is reported to have lost two fingers. New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul had a finger amputated last week as a result of the 4th of July firework mishap.
Both of these men made headlines because Americans love football. However, every year many other people are injured during the 4th of July holiday—and the days before and after. These injury victims are not featured on the national news. They may make the headlines in a small town newspaper, but firework accidents have become so routine that a tragic accident may barely be mentioned.
Playing With Fire
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, every year 230 people on average go to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries every day around the 4th of July holiday. We forget how dangerous these items are until someone famous is injured.
This is unacceptable. We should all make an effort to minimize the risk of injury—to ourselves, our children, and our friends and neighbors—by heeding these safety tips recommended by the CPSC:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper, because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees—hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
Whatever the occasion, when you and your family use fireworks to celebrate, please exercise caution. All of us at Holland & Usry wish you a safe and enjoyable summer!