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"Pretty colored trees"… Fireworks safety and precautions for the July 4th holiday

Fireworks bursting in sky

"Pretty colored trees"… that was my 3-year-old daughters' description of fireworks last year. Indeed, they are pretty; they may look like little trees and are undeniably popular. Bursting in all different shapes, sizes and colors, annual fireworks will light up the skies in recognition of America's independence this July weekend. Because safety is our mantra here at Foremost Insurance, we want to educate you on the precautions that should be taken when handling these "pretty colored trees."

Sparklers, bottle rockets and small firecrackers may appear harmless due to their size, however, new data released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows that last year, during the 30 days surrounding July 4, these fireworks sent about 1,900 injured consumers to emergency rooms. CPSC's statistics show that in 2010 about 8,600 consumers ended up in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries involving legal and illegal fireworks. Over the past 10 years, 30-33 percent of the injuries associated with fireworks have typically been caused by illegal explosives or homemade fireworks.

Consumers who decide to purchase legal fireworks are urged to take these safety steps from the CPSC:

  • Sit a comfortable distance from a firework or fireworks show. Make sure to wear earplugs to protect yourself and your family. A single bang of a firework can cause permanent ear damage.
  • Treat fireworks with respect. Read all of the warnings and use common sense. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Over the past 10 years, 30-33 percent of the injuries associated with fireworks have typically been caused by illegal explosives or homemade fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

Enjoy the Holiday weekend safely!

Stay safe every month with tips from Foremost. Your safety is number one to us.

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