Magazine article USA TODAY

Tips for a Safe and Sane Fourth

Magazine article USA TODAY

Tips for a Safe and Sane Fourth

Article excerpt

Celebrating Independence Day can be a fun time, but not when someone suffers an injury from fireworks. Joseph Guarisco, the chairman of the Emergency Medicine Department, Ochsner Foundation Hospital, New Orleans, warns that explosive devices should be handled with care. Many of the accidents caused by fireworks can be prevented if they are used properly and with adult supervision."

He explains that fireworks can lead to severe soft tissue injuries to hands and fingers, loss of vision and/or hearing, burns, and property damage. Problems can be prevented if certain points are kept in mind:

* Supervise children. It is unrealistic to expect youngsters to follow all safety instructions.

* Use fireworks in an open area, never indoors, and keep spectators at a safe distance.

* Always place fireworks on solid, level ground. Use long, fireplace-style matches when lighting them. Keep your head as far from the fuse as possible.

* Never throw firecrackers at a person or animal or place them in someone's pocket.

* Follow instructions. Don't explode fireworks in a bottle, tin can, or clay pot. Never tamper with or disassemble fireworks.

* Keep a hose or fire extinguisher on hand. When finished, hose down areas that could catch fire. Don't use fireworks during dry spells when grass can ignite.

* If fireworks fail to go off or misfire, do not try to relight them. It's best to spray water on them; otherwise, they may surprise you and go off in your hand.

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT

FIREWORKS

An estimated 400 Americans will lose vision in one or both eyes this year due to injuries caused by fireworks. …

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