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Fun with fireworks

Jul 2, 2014 - By Steven R. Peck

They are enjoyable -- and dangerous -- so follow common-sense guidelines

One of the real delights of the Fourth of July in Wyoming is the availability of fireworks. In many states they are illegal except in professional shows, but in our state the fireworks stand is a fun piece of Americana (or is that Wyomicana?).

But fireworks are dangerous. It is not insulting to acknowledge that fact, not sissy or irrationally cautious. It's just the truth of the matter.

According to the Consumer Product Safety commission, 240 people go to a hospital emergency room with injuries caused by fireworks -- every day. Countless more are injured but choose not to seek medical attention.

Fireworks are dangerous. It's a simple as that.

But here's another fact: We all deal regularly -- and successfully -- with things that are dangerous, from automobiles to stovetops to power tools. "Dangerous" is not the same thing as harmful. Dangers can be understood, they can be accounted for, and they can be mitigated.

That's what the Fireworks Information Center wants you to do. It's a branch of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Look over the list below, then ask yourself how many times in your life with fireworks you have done one of the things this list warns you not to do. It's a sobering process.

Fireworks can be a lot of fun, and they are a cherished part of the holiday. Best of all, they can be used safely. Read the following guidelines -- and follow them.

- 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 can suffer injuries even 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.

- 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.

- If an accident does occur, seek proper medical attention immediately.

Shoot the works, have fun, and enjoy the Fourth safely.

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