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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Have a Happy and Safe Fourth of July

The smell of hamburgers on the grill, the flags on parade and the excitement of fireworks…things that tell you it is the Fourth of July, Independence Day, our nation's birthday. The perfect time to celebrate with great family outings and outdoor fun that can provide some wonderful memories.
Ashtyn Austin wears protective eye covers and gloves before lighting a sparkler
Ashtyn Austin wears eye protectors
and gloves before lighting a sparkler








However, in order for the memories to be good ones the American Red Cross urges everyone to be especially careful with fireworks and to recognize some important tips for fireworks safety.  If not handled properly, fireworks can cause burn and eye injuries in kids and adults. The best way to protect your family is not to use any fireworks at home — period. Attend public fireworks displays, enjoy the loud booms and bright sparkles, but leave the lighting to the professionals. Lighting fireworks at home isn't even legal in many areas, so if you still want to use them, be sure to check with your local police department or fire marshal first.



Here are some tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety and SafeKids.org:

Wearing protective gear, Ashtyn enjoys the sparklers.
  • Kids should never play with fireworks. Firecrackers, rockets, and sparklers are just too dangerous especially for small children. If you give kids sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and away from the face, clothing and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800°F (982°C).
  • Buy only legal fireworks (legal fireworks have a label with the manufacturer's name and directions; illegal ones are unlabeled).
  • Never try to make your own fireworks.
  • Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of accidents.
  • Make plenty of space — fireworks can backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks at someone.
  • Don't hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting. Wear some sort of eye protection, and avoid carrying fireworks in your pocket — the friction could set them off.
  • Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush and leaves and flammable substances. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to more 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year.
  • Light one firework at a time (not in glass or metal containers), and never relight a dud.
  • Don't allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
  • Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can.
  • Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they'll run loose or get injured.
  • Always have a first aid kit handy anytime you are around fireworks.
If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately get medical help. If an eye injury occurs, don't allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage. For minor injuries flush the eye with cool, clean water and check for foreign objects. For more serious injuries seek emergency medical help. To keep hands off of the injured eye cut out the bottom of a paper cup, place it around the eye and immediately seek medical attention — your child's eyesight may depend on it.

If it's a burn you should quickly run cool, not cold, water over the burn (do not use ice). If clothing is stuck to the burn do not try to remove it. Run cool water over the burned area and seek medical help quickly.

One easy thing you can do is to download the Red Cross First Aid app. It is available for iPhone/iPad and for Android phones and tablets. It can provide you with some quick response instruction in the event that something goes wrong. You can find out more and download the First Aid app from www.redcross.org/mobileapps. You can also get the app from the AppStore and Google play. 

For some additional tips about holiday travel, grilling and fireworks visit our website at Safety-Steps-For-Travel-Grilling-and-Fireworks.

If you would like to learn more about first aid and CPR procedures go to www.redcross.org/take-a-class

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