In a few days, most of us we’ll be drawn away from our A/C and out of pools to celebrate America in a tradition born in 1777, a fireworks show. Fireworks, a somewhat controversial consumer good, can be fun but only with a good amount of care. Those 18 or older may legally purchase fireworks in Indiana, and anyone in possession or using fireworks must be accompanied must be accompanied someone 18 or older.
The Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center reports that nearly half of the fireworks-related injuries they see are sustained by children and adolescents. Of all the injuries, about half affect the hand and/or fingers. Burns comprise over half the type of injuries. And sparklers, the commonly-held tamest firework, is the most common cause of burns and other injuries.
Steps you can take to ensure a safer firework experience:
Buy new. Only purchase fireworks from licensed dealers. Do not ever try to make your own. Class 1.4G are for consumers. Class 1.3G are intended for professional shows only.
Scout your launch pad. Ensure where you light the fireworks is free from debris and flammable materials and that the area is open to avoid setting fire to trees, power lines, structures, or anything else.
Bring supplies. Wherever you may be lighting these always have close by: fire extinguishers, water, and a first aid kit. The South Bend Tribune has found that over the past years, 1 out of 4 firework related injuries involve the eyes with the majority of those injuries stemming from lack of any eye protection.
Let children see with their eyes, not their hands. Do not let children set off, play with, or handle fireworks and keep the kids at a safe distance and where you can see them when discharging the fireworks.
Respect the dangers. No smoking around fireworks. Never relight a fizzled out firework or modify a firework. Be cautious of lighting the fireworks in windy conditions. Wind can unexpectedly alter the trajectory of rockets and can lead to hazardous embers flying near explosives.
Remember these are explosives. On May 29, 2013 a southern Indiana fireworks store caught fire and within moments leveled the two-story building. The fireworks shot in different directions making it difficult for the fire department to approach. No one was hurt in the incident but the dangers are quite clear.
Some more specific statutes in place to keep you free from trouble this holiday:
Only set off fireworks on your property, on someone who has consented to their use, or anyplace specially designated by the Indiana State Fire Marshall.
Setting off fireworks must be done within the specific time parameters of 9am to 11pm (or until midnight on July Fourth)