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Put Safety First on the 4th

Follow these tips to avoid fireworks hazards

FRIDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- Celebrations including fireworks cause almost 10,000 injuries every year in the United States, but taking certain precautions can help keep you and others safe while enjoying the key summer holiday tradition.

The nonprofit MCG Health Inc. Corporation, which runs several Georgia-based medical facilities, offers this advice for fireworks safety:

  • Obey all local laws regarding fireworks. If you are in an area where they are not allowed by law, do not use them. If they are legal, buy from known and licensed sellers. Never make your own fireworks.
  • Before lighting any fireworks, make sure the launch area is open, away from homes and people, and not near flammable materials including dry leaves or grass. Have water on hand in case of emergencies.
  • Take time to read the label and follow directions, and use the fireworks only as intended. Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • Always wear eye protection and keep all body parts away from a firework while lighting. After lighting, get out of range and stay alert. Don't throw or point fireworks at other people.
  • Never re-light a dud. Instead, wait at least 20 minutes and then soak it in water.
  • Do not allow children to handle fireworks, even sparklers. These fireworks, which can reach temperatures above 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, are responsible for the greatest number of injuries in children aged 10 to 14, and can start fires if conditions are right.
  • When attending public fireworks displays, stay behind designated safety barriers. Fireworks displays are usually best viewed from at least a quarter mile away.

More information

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has more about fireworks safety.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: MCG Health Inc., news release, July, 2009

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