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Posted: June 28, 2016

Play it safe with fireworks this 4th of July


            Play it safe with fireworks this 4th of July
Jessica, 9, and Jacob Garza look at the shelves full of fireworks at American Fireworks July 1, 2015. The Pflugerville Fire Department recommends adult supervision whenever fireworks are being lit — even for older children.

In anticipation of the Fourth of July, the Pflugerville Fire Department wants everyone to better understand the dangers of fireworks and work together as a family to stay safe.

In the United States and nearly 11,000 people go to hospital emergency rooms every year for fireworks burns and injuries — most often children and teens. At least 10 are killed every year.

Fireworks also cause over 17,000 fires annually, including wildfires, house fires and car fires.

Rather than risking your safety with personal fireworks, we strongly recommend checking out a professional fireworks show. Some options include the Pfirecracker Pfestival on Lake Pflugerville, and the 4th Fest in Wells Branch.

These are especially good options because it is illegal to sell, have or light any personal fireworks in the city of Pflugerville. If police catch you breaking this law, you face a possible Class C misdemeanor ticket and a fine up to $500.

If you live in an unincorporated area of Travis County or another place where it’s currently legal to light fireworks (except in parks and certain other areas), work together to make fireworks a family activity:

  • Well before the holiday, discuss fireworks safety with everyone in your family to decrease the chance of someone getting hurt.
  • Never let children purchase fireworks without parents there — even older kids.
  • Insist on adult supervision whenever fireworks are being lit — even for older kids. Children 10 to 14 years old actually get the second-most number of fireworks burns and injuries, right behind preschoolers and toddlers.
  • Kids who aren’t yet in kindergarten should never be allowed to hold any fireworks on their own, including sparklers. They reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees, which is hot enough to melt metal. Give little kids glow-sticks instead, and pass the sparklers to much older kids and adults to carefully light one at a time — ideally wearing gloves.

A few other important things to keep in mind:

  • Only light fireworks outside on a flat surface that’s far from any homes or buildings. Don’t light fireworks near dry grass or leaves; you can catch them on fire.
  • Before you light fireworks, take a good look around to be sure there aren’t any people or pets in range of possibly getting hurt. And never point a firework at someone.
  • Don’t lean over firework devices or place your hand over them when lighting. Immediately back up as far as you can after lighting. The body parts that suffer the most fireworks injuries are fingers, hands, eyes, face and ears.
  • Don’t carry fireworks in your pocket, and never use a container (especially a metal or glass container) for launching.
  • Don’t try to re-light fireworks that didn’t work on the first try. Leave them alone, then thoroughly soak them in water with a bucket or hose before you try to handle them. Double-wrap them in plastic before throwing them in the trash. The same is true for a firework you find sitting on the ground that looks like it’s been used. It may still be active and could re-ignite in your hand.
  • Teach children and remind adults to stop, drop and roll if their clothing or hair catches fire. Remove any burned clothing, then wrap the person in a clean, dry blanket to keep them warm until help arrives.
  • Call 911 for burns bigger than a quarter.
  • Pour cool water over the burn for one minute for kids and five minutes for adults. Do not put ice on it; ice can deepen the burn and decrease body temperature.
  • Not only does the sound of fireworks cause many dogs and other pets to experience fear and anxiety, but when fireworks are ingested they are also poisonous to pets. Symptoms may include vomiting, a painful abdomen and bloody diarrhea.

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