Firefighters stress fireworks safety as the Fourth of July appro - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Firefighters stress fireworks safety as the Fourth of July approaches

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Fireworks have become synonymous with the Fourth of July, and now that they're legal to shoot off in city limits, firefighters are reminding people to use them with caution.

Every year, people are rushed to the hospital for firework related injuries.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that 250 people, on average, go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the 4th of July holiday.

Cedar Falls Battalion Chief Rick Schmidt says burns are the most common firework related injury he's seen. 

"Just remember the sparklers which we let our kids run around with-they're hot," said Schmidt. "You know you got the kid and they grab the wrong end of the sparkler after it's went out-that wire stays hot."

Accidents range from burns to even more severe ones.  Just three years ago, Detroit meteorologist Dave Rexroth was vacationing in Iowa City, when a fireworks accident caused him to lose his left eye. 

Schmidt's best advice is simple.

"Common sense is the biggest one," said Schmidt. "Use safe distances to make sure everybody is safe, not only people around you but the people lighting it."

CPSC reports more than 11,000 firework related injuries in 2016. Although the Cedar Falls fire department says they haven't seen any firework related injuries yet, they're still reminding people to be smart. 

"Because this is new to the state of Iowa, people don't know how fast that fuse is going to go off, what that device is actually going to do," said Schmidt. 

Here are some safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly

Here are some doctor-approved safety tips provided by Allen Hospital:

  • Know community guidelines for when and where you can safely light fireworks
  • Find a clear, open space
  • Supervise children closely
    • Half of all fireworks injuries occur to individual age 19 and younger
    • Use glow sticks instead of sparklers
  • Keep a bucket of water close
    • To immediately treat burns
    • To soak and throw away lit fireworks
  • Emergency professionals are specifically trained to treat emergencies – call 911
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