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For Release:  June 29, 2010
Contact:  Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
(405) 271-5601

Health Department Urges Fireworks Safety

Celebrating the 4th of July means enjoying festivities with family, friends, food, and of course, fireworks!   Each year, many families gather to watch professional fireworks shows while others choose to organize their own fireworks celebrations.  Although having your own fireworks show may be exciting, it is important to remember the risks surrounding such activities.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 92 percent of fireworks-related injuries treated in emergency departments involved fireworks that federal regulations permit consumers to use. In 2008, the NFPA reported that approximately 7,000 fireworks-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments nationwide.

Hands, fingers, eyes, and legs were the most common parts of the body that were injured, and burns were the most common type of fireworks-related injury. The highest injury rates were among children and young adults under 20 years of age. Sparklers and firecrackers were associated with the greatest number of injuries.  

The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Injury Prevention Service, as well as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, offer the following tips to keep your family and friends safe this Fourth of July:

• Before using fireworks, check with your local police or fire department to determine what is legal in your area.
• Read all warnings and instructions.
• Do not build or experiment with homemade fireworks.
• Do not allow young children to handle or light fireworks – including sparklers.  (Sparklers burn at more than 1000ºF!)
• Be sure that spectators are at a safe distance away and are warned before fireworks are lit.
• Do not hold fireworks while trying to light them. Light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from houses, dry leaves and brush, and flammable materials.
• Light fireworks one at a time and then move back quickly.
• Never re-light fireworks or pick up fireworks that malfunction.
• After fireworks burn out, soak them in water before throwing them away. Keep a bucket of water or water hose nearby in case of fire.
• If there is an emergency, contact the fire department or call 911.

For more information, contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health Injury Prevention Service at (405) 271-3430, or your local county health department.  Have a safe and spectacular Fourth of July!

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