Having Fun, Preventing Injuries and Staying Safe This Holiday Weekend

Fourth of July: barbeques, boating, fireworks and fun in the sun. As the extended holiday weekend kicks off, it is important to remember a few basic safety tips in order to make sure that the holiday doesn't end with a trip to the emergency room or even worse.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more fires are reported on July 4th than on any other day of the year -- and fireworks cause more than half of those fires. In 2009, fireworks caused about 18,000 fires, resulting in over $38 million in property damage, 30 burn injuries and no fatalities on July 4. Throughout the course of the year, over 8,800 people were treated for firework-related injuries.

Fireworks have been known to cause burns, eye damage, and even result in loss of a limb or death. In fact, according to the NFPA, the risk of death from a fire caused by fireworks is higher than the risk of death from a fire caused by a cigarette.

To prevent a fatal accident or serious injury when using fireworks this weekend, follow these tips from the National Council of Firework safety:

  • Do not use fireworks inside.
  • Always keep a hose or bucket accessible with water to douse any flare ups or "dud" fireworks.
  • Do not re-light "dud" fireworks.
  • Only use fireworks as intended -- one at a time. Do not try to combine or alter them.
  • Create a designated shooting area, clear of other people and buildings.
  • Use of sparklers may seem like child's play, but they can burn up to 1800 degrees and should only be used by children over the age of 12 -- with adult supervision.
  • Each state has different laws regarding fireworks. If fireworks are not legal in your state, do not use them. In Texas, all consumer fireworks are legal -- even some of the most dangerous ones, like sky rockets and roman candles. Be sure to use proper care in handling them.

Follow these basic tips to prevent tragedy, and to have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day!

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