America’s Independence Day is a gigantic celebration of the nation’s founding and freedoms. July 4 is the nation’s birthday, and this year marks the 238thanniversary. Let freedom ring! Here is what John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers and America’s second President had to say about it in 1776:
“The most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival… It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade with shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers these common sense safety tips for using consumer fireworks in hopes that injuries to consumers can be greatly reduced this season:
· Always purchase fireworks from a reliable source.
· Use fireworks as directed on consumer product safety label; never alter products.
· Observe local laws and use good COMMON SENSE.
· Have a designated shooter to organize and shoot your family show.
· A responsible ADULT should supervise all firework activities.
· Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
· Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
· Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; AWAY from buildings and vehicles.
· NEVER carry fireworks in your POCKET.
· Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
· Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
· Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
· Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
· Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor trash can.
· Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
“Using consumer fireworks on the nation’s birthday is as traditional as cookouts and parades. And it is equally safe if a few common sense rules are followed”, says Nancy Blogin, President of National Council on Fireworks Safety. “We want consumers to be safe from beginning to end when enjoying their fireworks. We want there to be a safe place to shoot, to have a designated shooter that takes responsibility for the show and to have the fireworks disposed of properly.” More info can be found at this website: http://fireworkssafety.org/.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks - devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death. Here are the deadly statistics about misuse of fireworks:
· In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
· In 2012, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,700 people for fireworks related injuries; 55% of 2012 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 31% were to the head.
· The risk of fireworks injury was highest for young people ages 15-24, followed by children under 10.
· On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
Additionally, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission says fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. You can help us prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths. How? By working with a national, state or local organization where you live to promote fireworks safety in your community. Follow these additional safety tips when using 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.
· Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
The USCPSC reports that 240 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. Be very careful when handing fireworks. This organization provides more helpful hints at this website: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks/.
On the 4thof July, when you celebrate America’s freedom and gather with family and friends to watch fireworks and enjoy the nation’s greatest national holiday, please take a moment to thank the men and women of the United States military who have given the greatest measure of devotion in defending our country for centuries. Ask God to preserve and protect America, and provide continued liberty, wisdom, and freedom for you and your children.
Until next time. Let Freedom Ring!