If you’re like the majority of red-blooded patriots, you’ll be celebrating the steel courage it took the country’s forefathers to declare independence as most other likeminded, American folks will: with cookouts and fireworks. In fact, the U.S. spends $600 million on fireworks each year, while 74 million Americans will grill and consume 150 million hotdogs on the Fourth of July.
However, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that during the month around Independence day celebrations about 200 people wind up in the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries. They also report that there’s an average of 6.6 deaths every year as the result of fireworks. According to the most recent data, from 2012, there were an estimated 8,700 injuries per year from fireworks.
For reasons like these, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a reminder for the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry asking them to be vigilant of the innate hazards involved with fireworks’ manufacturing, storing, transporting, displaying, and sale.
“As we celebrate the July 4 holiday with fireworks and festivities, we must also be mindful of the safety of workers who handle pyrotechnics,” said Dr. David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary. “Employers are responsible for keeping everyone safe on the job and taking appropriate measures to protect workers from serious injuries or death.”
Consumers should also be cautious as well. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advises that children never be allowed to ignite or even play with fireworks; fireworks should never be re-lighted; a bucket of water be kept nearby; and that consumers double check to make sure fireworks are legal in their area before purchasing or using them.
“It’s imperative to have fire extinguishers available in your home for the 4th, and to ensure they have been checked that they’re up to date on recent standards as well as being sure they have been recharged,” says Tricia Kane, Account Representative at Piper Fire. “This is the best way to be prepared for accidental fires when using fireworks this holiday.”
With these tips in mind, every patriot can safely celebrate July 4 the way they’re supposed — with big, loud explosions of freedom.