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  • Christi Kulwicki

Faulty Fireworks

Leave the show to the professionals.

Independence Day is an exciting time, filled with recognizing patriotic heroism and reflecting on being part of this great nation, the United States of America. We get together with loved ones, eat scrumptious meals and watch beautiful fireworks light up the sky like magic. It all sounds perfect until one of our precious children or teenagers become a statistic.

Nearly one third of injuries significant enough to be taken to a local emergency room in 2017 happened to people age 20 and younger, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Let’s admit we all enjoy the colorful magic in the sky celebrating our great nation, but it’s important we leave the fireworks to the professionals and view them at a distance.

All fireworks are faulty when in the wrong hands.

Not often is a vote unanimous, but all safety organizations from the American Red Cross to the National Safety Council voted: The best practice is to not allow fireworks at home. Let’s not only read the statistics collected and published from these safety-focused organizations, but

also align our actions with their best practices and keep our loved ones safe.

It’s only a sparkler, you might say. Literally hands-on, they seem controllable, and it’s fun to let the little ones participate in the special holiday, but it’s at their own vulnerable expense. We caregivers are fully responsible for the risk and dangers we put our children in when we hand

them a lit sparkler. Would you hand your child any other item as it burns at 2,000 degrees? That is exactly how hot a sparkler can get. According to the National Safety Council, for children younger than 5, sparklers account for almost half the injuries taken to the emergency room. Adults didn’t fare much better, with sparklers accounting for 25% of all injuries seen at the emergency room in 2017.

The risk of bodily injury isn’t the only reason to avoid doing your own fireworks. Personal property is also at risk every firework season. The National Safety Council states 18,500 fires started in 2017 due to fireworks, and the Fourth of July is the worthiest noted date of the year for fires. What obligation do we have to ourselves or to our neighbors to prevent a car, a house or a business from a firework-borne fire and possibly financial ruin or hardship for another family? Not to mention it’s a terrible use of resources when prevention is easy and encouraged by so many safety organizations in the U.S.

Fireworks also impact the environment. Can we agree pollution is bad? And that we should guard ourselves and the environment from the improper use of hazardous materials? Fireworks today are made of gunpowder, also known as black powder (charcoal, potassium

nitrate, sulfur and carbon). It can be toxic to the person shooting or lighting the firework. The substances that make up fireworks can cause acute health effects, specifically respiratory distress. Let us not forget about the hazardous materials that fireworks put into the ozone or wash into our waterways, lakes and oceans. Again, let’s leave fireworks to the professionals. They understand the importance of the safety garments needed, such as mask, gloves and goggles when displaying fireworks.

Let’s align with the safety organizations and enjoy a beautiful, nostalgic firework show at a distance. By watching a professional display, rather than creating one in the backyard or in the street, we — as a community — can prevent unnecessary mishaps.


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