Time for fireworks; time for safety
Whether you think June has sped by, or the first real summer month has limped along due to more time at home, it is a reality that July is just around the corner. And, as July 4 nears, that means fireworks and the dangers that come with them.
Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of shooting off firecrackers myself as I grew older. Maybe it’s because I still carry some guilt from the illegal shooting of them I did as a child in Omaha, with two older brothers egging me on. Growing up, we weren’t supposed to discharge them in the Omaha city limits, but they were sold legally in the surrounding communities of Bellevue and Papillion. And, my older brothers could drive to those communities.
But I have always enjoyed the public shows put on by professionals, like our own Imperial Volunteer Fire Department. They’ll be doing that again this year, as Imperial gets ready for its fireworks display on Friday, July 3.
Shooting of firecrackers is allowed in small towns like Imperial, and they actually go on sale Thursday this week. There is an Imperial city ordinance that sets time constraints on when to quit shooting at night.
It’s also a good thing to review some of the statistics and safety measures if you or your children/grandchildren plan to celebrate the Fourth of July with firecrackers and more.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 180 people go to the emergency room every day in the U.S. with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4 holiday.
Officials at CPSC list these safety precautions when planning to use fireworks in and around your home:
Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks alone.
Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees—hot enough to melt some metals.
Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
Another concern is the extreme dry conditions in this area right now. Imperial has not received measurable rain since June 9, and this month hasn’t even measured an inch of moisture. There is no rain in the coming week’s forecast, either.
So, extra caution is in order this year. Just read some of the extreme injuries that can result to a person who misuses fireworks. And, yes, deaths also occur.
Play it safe this fireworks season as you celebrate the Fourth of July. Also think about the firefighters who take personal time to answer calls when a little fun gets out of control.