February 13, 2016

Avoiding injuries, fires on the fourth

Emergency officials urge revelers to play it safe this 4th of July holiday.

Wisconsin Emergency Management reminds people that fireworks can cause serious injuries and death if not properly used. Tod Pritchard is with the department. “You know, I didn’t really realize until we were doing the research in this, is how many fires are started by fireworks and that injuries that that causes.”

Nearly 18,000 fires were caused by fireworks in 2011, according to the National Fire Protection Association, resulting in 40 injuries and $32 million in direct property damage. In that same year, doctors treated 9,600 fireworks-related injuries in hospital emergency rooms across the country, 26 percent of those victims were under the age of 15, and many injuries aren’t accounted for as no treatment is sought.

Sparklers accounted for 34 percent of firework-related injuries. “When I was a kids we used to run all over the yard with sparklers and wave them around all over the place, but they are really, really … can be very dangerous. I don’t think people realize if you’re holding a sparkler in your hand it’s shooting out sparks at temperatures of 1,200 degrees or greater.”

As you celebrate Independence Day, play it safe. Emergency officials suggest you keep water handy, just in case, also wear eye protection if igniting fireworks, only buy from reliable sellers, light only one firework at a time, follow the manufacturer’s directions, and check local ordinances to see whether your toys are legal.

On the positive side, all the rain Wisconsin has seen lately could help stave off potential fires. The best advice, Pritchard suggests you leave the fireworks displays to trained professionals. He says you should do “as little work as possible. You just have to drive there, enjoy, smile a lot, have fun with your kids.”

Print pagePDF pageEmail page