Firework Safety: Don't get burned this holiday

By Audrey Williams

June 27, 2012 Updated Jun 27, 2012 at 10:24 PM CDT

GROVELAND, Ill -- We are just one week away from celebrating America's independence. July 4th is a day for swimming, cookouts, and of course, fireworks. However, those fireworks can turn dangerous if used improperly.

"They are not designed to be dangerous. They are designed to be pretty and showoff and stuff. And if you treat them with the respect they deserve then you'll be fine," said firework stand operator Richard Reeves.

Reeves said with the upcoming holiday he expects business to be booming this weekend. He adds, use common sense when lighting up this holiday, "Don't hold it in your hand unless its designed for that. If you're not sure if its lit, assume it is."

The Illinois State Fire Marshal website states that of the firework injuries reported last year: 20-percent affected the eyes, 15-percent were injuries to the hand, and over half of the reported injuries were burns.

"They are explosive devices and we want people to give them the caution that they deserve," said Scott Vogel with the American Red Cross of the Heartland.

Caution that should be used no matter how big or small the firework or the person. Sparklers may be the firework of choice for children but officials say they can burn at over 1,000 degrees and can easily burn the skin.

"If they are going to hold the sparklers to dose them in a bucket of water as soon as they are done with them and to just use common sense around the age of the kids that are using the sparklers," said Vogel.

While things like sparklers and poppers are legal in the state of Illinois, many of the bigger and even common fireworks are not. Captain Brad McCollum with the Bloomington Fire Department said that is for good reason, "Bottle rockets are illegal in the state of Illinois. We still see a lot of those used. And once again, if you use a bottle rocket you don't have any control of which direction its going to go, do you don't know where its going to land."

Officials ask that as you celebrate America's freedom, do it safely.

"Don't discount what fireworks can actually do. What types of fires they can cause and what type of injuries they can also cause," said McCollum.

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