Don’t throw caution to the wind: Avoid fireworks!

The Fourth of July may be over, but Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey reminds North Carolinians fireworks used at any time can be dangerous and should be left to the professionals.

“We have seen countless injuries since the Fourth of July and we want to avoid anyone else from getting hurt,” said Commissioner Causey. “We’ve seen reports of adults who’ve been severely injured by the improper use of fireworks and we’ve seen reports of children who have been hurt by the simple use of sparklers and firecrackers. I urge you to leave the fireworks to the professionals.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured each year while using fireworks.

Although the 2018 figures are not in yet, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s latest figures, there were 11 deaths and an estimated 11,900 people who sustained injuries due to fireworks in 2015, the most recent data available. It shows injuries from sparklers, bottle rockets and small firecrackers accounted for 3,900 injuries requiring emergency room visits.

A simple, handheld sparkler can burn at a temperature of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit or more. To put that into perspective, water boils at 212 degrees, a cake bakes at 350 degrees and wood burns at 575 degrees.

In addition, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year and these fires cause an average of $43 million in property damage.

The NFPA offers the following fireworks safety tips:

  • Leave fireworks to the professionals: The best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.
  • If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.
  • Be extra careful with sparklers: Little arms are too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,200 degrees. Let your young children use glow sticks instead. They can be just as fun but don’t burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass.
  • Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
  • Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
  • Point fireworks away from homes and keep away from brush, leaves, and flammable substances.
  • Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
  • Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
  • If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don’t allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.