July 2, 2013

Keep Your Sight, Know the Dangers of Fireworks

By Angel MedFlight Contributor
As we close in on the annual Independence Day celebration, we look forward to taking in a fireworks show.  And when it comes to safety, having trained professionals set off those pyrotechnics is the only way one should enjoy fireworks. The potential risk of setting off fireworks yourself is too great. Prevent Blindness America reminds us during National Fireworks Safety Month that injuries from fireworks accidents can affect us for the rest of our lives.
Children are especially prone to fireworks accidents. There is a great temptation for them to tag along with the rest of the neighborhood kids and set off firecrackers, smoke bombs, sparkling geysers and more. It's not just the person lighting the fireworks who are risking injury but bystanders as well.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 8,700 consumers treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries in 2012 and of those injuries 600 hundred were to the eyes. The CPSC's annual  report says 60 percent of all fireworks injuries occur during the 30 days surrounding the July 4th holiday.
Most injuries were associated with fireworks that malfunctioned or were used improperly. Fireworks that malfunction travel in an unexpected flight path and drop dangerous debris. Improper use includes lighting a firework too close to someone or lighting fireworks while holding them and playing with lit or used fireworks.
As for those fireworks that are frequently considered 'safe' for children, like bottle rockets and sparklers? They aren't safe at all. The CPSC report shows that about 1,000 reported injuries in 2012 involved bottle rockets and sparklers. According to the CPSC's report, sparklers and bottle rockets combined caused 24 percent of fireworks-related injuries and 23 percent were caused by firecrackers.  
Prevent Blindness America offers a number of tips to prevent fireworks-related injuries. First on the list is to not purchase, use or store fireworks of any type. Also be aware that sparklers are dangerous and cause 50% of fireworks injuries in children 14 and younger. They recommend attending only authorized public fireworks displays which are conducted by licensed operators. But they warn that injuries can still occur at those types of displays.
Prevent Blindness America is the nation's leading volunteer eye health and safety organization. Founded in 1908, it is dedicated to fighting blindness and saving site.

Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance wants everyone to enjoy this Independence Day and to remember that the safest way to enjoy a fireworks display is to view one managed by trained and licensed professionals.

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