LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - With the 4th of July just around the corner, it’s important to remind ourselves of the safety precautions needed when handling fireworks so you don't end up in the emergency room.
Nearly half of all firework injuries reported result with people in the emergency room, and children ages 10-14 have the highest rates of injuries from using fireworks. Fireworks should always be inspected for any damage before lighting, should be soaked in a bucket of water after use, and residents should keep water or a fire extinguisher nearby.
Mayo Clinic Health System Emergency Medicine Dr. Taft Franklin says he sees an increase in emergency room visits due to fireworks. "Although it may not be life-threatening, it can really change your quality of life not having the full function of your eyesight or your hand. So just that alone is important enough to take extra precautions."
Here are some other safety tips for people planning to light their own fireworks:
- Confirm fireworks are legal where you live; purchase fireworks only from licensed retailers.
- Only use fireworks in a large open space that has been cleared of flammable materials.
- Always keep young children away from fireworks; if teens are permitted to handle fireworks, they should be closely supervised by an adult; always wear eye protection.
- Make sure to have a garden hose or a bucket of water nearby in case of a fire.
- Only light fireworks one at a time; never try to re-light fireworks that have malfunctioned
- Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and leaving them in a trash can.
- Never shoot fireworks off from a glass jar or container.
- Never use fireworks while consuming alcohol.
- Never store fireworks from season to season.
If you do plan to shoot off fireworks from your home, remember it is illegal to do so in Wisconsin without a permit. It is also important to keep your pets indoors when lighting fireworks.