How to Stay Safe Around Fireworks


For some, it isn't a Fourth of July celebration without some fireworks.

Every summer, millions of families head to the back yard for fun with firecrackers and sparklers. But those explosive backyard fireworks that draw the most attention can also cause great damage.

Last year, fireworks accidents killed five people and sent more than 10,000 to the emergency room, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Every year, thousands of eye injuries are caused by projectile debris from fireworks, and the victims are usually innocent bystanders.

Only five states -- Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island -- ban fireworks entirely. In the past few years, several states have actually relaxed their rules about fireworks. That relaxation, and an increased feeling of patriotism, have sent sales to an all time high.

Julie Heckman, director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, offered some tips on how to have fun with fireworks but stay safe during this holiday weekend.

Have a responsible, sober adult in charge of all fireworks activities.

Anyone lighting fireworks should wear eye protection.

Don't give young children sparklers to play with. Sparklers are designed to burn at a very high temperature -- they can easily ignite clothing if they are mishandled.

When you're setting off fireworks, keep the spectators a minimum of 25 feet away.

Keep a bucket of water nearby in case of any malfunctions.

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