The July 4 holiday is coming up, so it's time for us to remind readers of something that should be common sense but apparently isn't: fireworks safety.
State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson says most fireworks-related injuries occur between July 1 and July 7. State figures show 230 people injured themselves with fireworks last year — up from 181 reported in 2015. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 18,500 fires per year are caused by fireworks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also reports that around 12,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries in 2015. About 2,000 of these were eye injuries. Sparklers account for a quarter of fireworks-related injuries.
Greeson told The Associated Press that people shouldn't drink or smoke while lighting fireworks. Those who light fireworks should be in an open area with their audience at a safe distance. He also said altering fireworks, or making your own at home are no-nos. The same goes for pointing a lit firework at another person. Greeson said adults should supervise children using fireworks, and he urged those who are younger to use glow sticks instead of sparklers, which can burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you can, it's best to enjoy your fireworks by taking in a show run by professionals. But if you prefer to “do this at home”:
• Make sure you have some water nearby.
• Wear loose clothing, and don't use hand-held fireworks.
• Remember to “stop, drop and roll” if fire finds you.
• If you're shooting fireworks into the sky, make sure you know which direction they're going in.
• Always wear protective eyewear when handling fireworks.
• Be especially careful and watchful if there are children around.
It would also help you to know fireworks rules and regulations. Indiana has liberalized its laws, so it can seem like anything goes. That's not quite the case. Specially designated days for fireworks use are June 29 through July 3 and July 5 through 9. On those days, fireworks may be used from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset. On July 4, they may be set off between 10 a.m. and midnight.
Have fun this holiday but use some common sense. Please be safe.