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Upcoming Holiday Raises Concerns About Fireworks Safety


Around this time of year most people in the Ozarks have come to expect the random booms followed by explosions of fiery color in the sky, but Independence Day’s most common activity can be a dangerous one. KSMU’s Chasity Mayes reports on how to stay safe when playing with fire.

You probably can’t imagine a Fourth of July celebration without fireworks, but just as common as the fireworks themselves are the mistakes people make with them, and the injuries that come as a consequence.

“Throwing them or holding them in their hand.”

Zac Pagette runs the Compton’s Fireworks Tent on Sunshine and West Bypass. He says he thinks the most common mistakes people make are using their own hands as a launch pad for the explosives. He says there is an easy way to learn how to protect yourself.

“Oh, a lot of people ask questions, but I recommend read the side of them. I mean they’ll tell you. You know, you don’t hold them in your hand, you don’t throw them, you know,” says Pagette.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, reports that in the United States in 2006, 11 people died and an estimated 9,200 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries. The CDC also reported that of those who were injured, young children, men, and people under the age of 20 years old made up the majority. The most common injuries reported were burns. Fireworks can be associated with blindness, third degree burns, and permanent scarring. Residential and motor vehicle fires can also result from fireworks.

Katie Towns-Jeter is the public information administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. She says certain parts of the body are affected more than others.

“Historically most injuries that occur from fireworks do occur to the hands, eyes, and legs and a majority of the injuries actually occur in children ages 10 to 14. So, it’s really important that people beware of fireworks safety and also encourage children not to be handling or using fireworks,” says Towns-Jeter.

The CDC recommends avoiding bottle rockets and sparklers. Bottle rockets can fly into peoples’ faces and sparklers, which burn at 1,000 degrees, can ignite clothing. Experts say children should never be allowed to set off fireworks and should be a safe distance away to watch them.

The biggest recommendation for avoiding injury is to leave fireworks displays to the professionals.

For KSMU News, I’m Chasity Mayes.