Fire department: Leave fireworks to the pros

Each year, fire departments respond to emergencies in which someone has been injured by use of fireworks or a wildland or structure fire has occurred as a result of fireworks. The end of June and early July is by far the most common time for fireworks-related emergencies.

Here are some facts regarding fireworks in 2011, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission:

Fireworks were involved in an estimated 9,600 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2011.

An estimated 6,200 fireworks-related injuries (or 65 percent of the total fireworks-related injuries in 2011) were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments between June 17 and July 17.

The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (an estimated 46 percent); eyes (an estimated 17 percent); head, face, and ears (an estimated 17 percent); and legs (an estimated 11 percent).

More than half of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to all parts of the body, except the eyes, where contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eyes occurred more frequently.

There were an estimated 1,100 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 300 with bottle rockets.

Many parents remain unaware of the potential dangers of fireworks, especially when it comes to sparklers. An adult who innocently puts a sparkler in the hands of a child does not realize that a sparkler burns at a temperature of 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. To put this in perspective, steel will warp, melt, and sag when heated to temperatures of about 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit. The touch of a lit sparkler can ignite a child’s clothing, causing third-degree burns within 30 seconds.

The best way to protect your family is not to use fireworks at home, period. The Sycamore Fire Department recommends attending public fireworks displays and leaving the lighting to the professionals.

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