It’s beginning to look like this 4th of July will not look like others in the past. Willard Parks and Recreation is working on an alternative to Freedom Fest but it may mean more people are lighting off fireworks on their own. This brings concern for our district’s well-being and safety.
So, with that information in hand, we have decided to put out some specific information on fireworks safety for our community. We want you to have fun but also be safe while doing so. Here are some statistics as to why this is so important. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) the following are the most injured body parts from fireworks: 19% eyes; 15% head, face, and ears; 28% hands and fingers; 4% arms; 10% trunks and other; and 24% legs. More than 44% of those injuries were burns.
In addition to the above statistics, which came from the same report from 2018, the following gives a breakdown of the injuries and deaths associated with fireworks:
- There were 5 non-occupational fireworks-related deaths (121 deaths between 2003 and 2018)
- An estimated 9,100 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments
- An estimated 5,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during the 1-month special study period (6-22-18 and 7-22-18)
- Children 10 to 14 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries
- Older teens, 15 to 19 years of age, had the second highest estimated rate
- An estimated 500 emergency department-related injuries associated with sparklers and 200 with bottle rockets
- An estimated 1,000 emergency department-related injuries associated with firecrackers
- Burns were the most common injury to hands, fingers, and arms
- An estimated 17 percent of patients were treated and transferred to another hospital, or admitted to the hospital
You can help to lessen these statistics each year by following some simple guidelines:
- 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.
- 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.
For the City of Willard, an ordinance for fireworks, reads as follows:
- It shall be unlawful to store, discharge, or use any fireworks or pyrotechnics in the City of Willard except as herein provided.
- Unless a burn ban is in effect, the discharge and use of fireworks by the general public is permitted inside the City limits of Willard for the following dates:
- July 4 from 12:00 P.M. through July 5 to 12:30 A.M.
- December 31 from 2:00 P.M. through January 1 to 12:30 A.M.
We know this is a lot of information to take in and a lot of statistics but it’s important to realize the consequences of fireworks. I, Stefanie Shell, have always loved fireworks but in 2014 I became one of the injury statistics. We decided to have our fireworks display at our new home. We thought we had enough open space to safely do the fireworks. But, even when you know all the safety guidelines and think you are safe, something can happen you could have never planned. One of the 16 shell mortars, that were safely encased in a flat device, broke loose and flew sideways, hit an obstruction and bounced back into the back of the bag chair I was sitting in. Unfortunately, I was sitting forward so when I felt something hit my back, I sat back, it exploded and blew out the back of my chair. It also caught my clothes on fire for a second and burned them to my left shoulder blade. It was a blur from there but my husband was able to get his medical bag and began taking care of my wound. I still have a scar and I still love fireworks but I am so thankful that mortar shell didn’t hit any of my family (mom, grandparents, in-laws, kids, sister, nieces were all in attendance).
We do not want you to be a statistic so please choose wisely and make safe decisions!
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to stop by the station which is located at 240 N State Highway Z in Willard right across from the recreational center. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have. We hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July, 2020!