dave-mittlemanThe Fourth of July holiday will soon be upon us as we draw nearer to the weekend.  Most likely, you’ve already stocked your fireworks supply in anticipation of family picnics or other get-togethers.  But as fireworks continue to fly off the shelves at local stores and into the night sky, safety officials are reminding the public to use caution this weekend.

According to Lansing Fire Marshal, Phil Sabon, injuries do occur on a rather high scale across the U.S.  In fact, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2009 there were two deaths and nearly 9,000 emergency room visits for injuries resulting from fireworks-related incidents.  Furthermore, most fireworks injuries occurred in consumers younger than 20-years-old and resulted in the loss of limbs in many cases.  Dr. Dan Thomas, a doctor at Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital, corroborates the CPSC’s findings and recently stated that Independence Day is “always a busy time”.  Indeed, the most common injury that doctors encounter around this time of year is a burn, which can be very serious and lead to scarring, loss of limbs, or even death.

Lansing Fire Marshal Phil Sabon and other safety officials offer the following guidelines for fireworks safety:

  • If children are involved with firework activities, adult supervision is extremely important.  Those lighting the fireworks should keep water or a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Keep combustibles away from dry grass and brush that could easily light on fire.
  • A flat surface like a driveway is optimal for lighting fireworks.
  • Eye and hand protection are good ideas to ensure safety while using fireworks.
  • The best way to stay safe is to leave the fireworks to the professionals by enjoying annual community displays.

Enjoy the holiday and your time off, but remember to keep it safe if you plan to use fireworks!