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South Carolina Health Agency Promotes Firework Safety

Have fun and stay safe this Fourth of July …

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With the Fourth of July approaching, the South Carolina Department of Public Health (SCDPH) is encouraging residents to practice critical safety precautions when handling fireworks so they can protect themselves and their children during the upcoming festivities.

“Preventable injuries and deaths occur each year due to the mishandling of fireworks, and those injuries are most common on and around holidays associated with fireworks celebrations, especially the Fourth of July,” said Karilyn Tremblay, DPH injury prevention and aging programs director. “We urge South Carolinians to exercise caution and stay safe while enjoying the Fourth.”

While fireworks are a major source of fun and celebration for Independence Day, they can cause serious injury or even death if not used properly. Two years ago, this viral video from a Nebraska home security camera provided a stark reminder of the unpredictability of fireworks …

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Thankfully, no one was seriously injured in the Nebraska incident – however according to a 2023 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), eight deaths and 9,700 firework-related injuries occurred that year.

Additionally, 42 percent of firework-related injuries treated in emergency departments are burns – usually to the hands and fingers. Sparklers also cause a surprisingly high number of emergency room visits.

“Sparklers may seem safe, but they can be more dangerous than you think,” a recent post from Lexington Medical Center noted. “Burning at a scorching 2,000 degrees, sparklers can quickly ignite clothing and cause severe burns if dropped on feet. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association reports that sparklers alone account for more than 25 percent of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries.”

While SCDPH advises residents to leave firework displays to the professionals, the agency is sharing helpful tips for those who decide to incorporate fireworks into their holiday celebrations.

Courtesy of CPSC, here are some tips on how to stay safe using fireworks:

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit — hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase and set off fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • 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 try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, to prevent a trash fire, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device.

Visit CPSC and the National Council on Fireworks Safety‘s pages for more information on staying safe during Fourth of July weekend.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Erin Parrott (Provided)

Erin Parrott is a Greenville, S.C. native who graduated from J. L. Mann High School in 2021. She is currently a rising senior at the University of South Carolina majoring in broadcast journalism. Got feedback or a tip for Erin? Email her here.

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