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     Fireworks safety a must for a festive July 4th

    Fireworks are always a fun way to celebrate the Fourth of July, but Sandra Mahoney-Wiediger BSN, RN, VA-BC, Critical Care Educator at Rome Memorial Hospital recommends leaving the pyrotechnic displays to the professionals.

    “Every year, hospital emergency departments treat many patients with injuries they sustained while setting off fireworks,” Mahoney-Wiediger said. “These injuries range from devastating burns, to loss of limbs or eyes, even death. If you do plan to set off your own fireworks, please be careful and follow strict safety measures.”

    The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends:

    • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
    • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
    • A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
    • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol consumption for after the show.
    • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
    • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
    • Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
    • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
    • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
    • Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers.
    • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
    • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
    • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
    • Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one.
    • If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.
    • Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display.
    • Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets.

    Sparklers pose safety risks too. Simply put, sparklers burn at a temperature between 1800° and 3000° Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt some metals. There are a number of factors that determine what the temperature of a sparkler is. Everything from the length to the color that they burn changes their hottest temperature.
    Tips for sparkler safety include:
    • Always supervise children using sparklers.
    • Don't ever give sparklers to a child under five.
    • Always light sparklers one at a time and, preferably, wear gloves.
    • Show children how to hold sparklers: away from their body and at arm’s length.
    • Teach children not to wave sparklers near anyone else or run while holding them.
    • Never hold a sparkler yourself, if you're also holding a baby in your arms.
    • When a sparkler's burned out, plunge it, hot end down, into a bucket of water. Sparkler's can stay hot for a long time.
    • Don’t take sparklers to public displays. It will be too crowded to use them safely.
    • Make sure your children aren't wearing very loose, flowing clothes: in the unlikely event that things do turn dangerous, loose clothing is more likely to catch light.
    Injuries from fireworks require prompt medical attention. Mahoney-Wiediger recommends if any eye injury happens:
    • Do not rub or touch it as this may cause further damage
    • Do not flush the eye or put ointment in it
    • Cover the eye lightly to protect it and take the injured person to the emergency department
    If a burn injury happens:
    • Remove clothing from any burned area
    • Cover the burn with only dry, clean clothes or dressings
    • Call your doctor or take the person to the emergency department
    • Call an ambulance if the burn is large and severe

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