Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

July 2, 2014

TFD promotes fireworks safety

TAHLEQUAH — Tahlequah firefighters hope you don’t become a part of the injury statistics gathered every year around Independence Day.

While fireworks are a hot commodity this time of year, firefighters know the dangers those products carry. Their safety message might sound as though it’s all common sense, but the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says 240 people, on average, go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month surrounding July 4.

A majority of injuries – 36 percent – occur to hands and fingers; 22 percent occur to the head, face and ears; and injuries to the eyes account for about 16 percent.

“One thing is to make sure you don’t hold fireworks in your hands and fire them off,” said Assistant Fire Chief Ted Kupsick.

During the month of July, fireworks can only be detonated inside the city of Tahlequah on July 4, according to city officials.

Adults should always supervise children, and should never underestimate the power of fireworks – even sparklers.

“Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers,” according to the CPSC. “Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.”

Thirty-one percent of injuries come at the hands of sparklers; 11 percent from firecrackers; 6 percent from shells that can be reloaded; 6 percent from Roman candles; 4 percent from bottle rockets; 3 percent from multiple-tube products; 3 percent from fountains; 2 percent from novelties; and 24 percent from unspecified products, the CPSC says. Two percent of injuries occur during public displays, the safety commission reports.

Most reported injuries are to children and adults up to age 19. Among adults, men are injured more often than women.

Kupsick also recommends a clean, clear area to detonate fireworks. Local landscapes are greener than in many previous summers thanks to frequent rainfall, but grass and high weeds could still go up in flames under certain conditions.

“You need a cleared-out spot when you’re firing fireworks,” said Kupsick. “Have a bucket of water nearby to put out any fires that might start up, and also one to put sparklers and other spent products in.”

According to Kupsick, the local fire department has seen its share of injuries and grass fires started by fireworks in recent years, but the number of fires and injuries seem to drop off when community shows are offered.

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