As this year's 4th of July holiday weekend approaches, the City of St. Louis Department of Health is reminding City residents that it is not only unsafe, but it is illegal to possess or discharge fireworks within the City limits without a permit. As recently as 2009, nearly 9,000 emergency room visits throughout the U.S. were due to injuries sustained from fireworks. Approximately 6,000 of those injuries were reported during the 30 days surrounding July 4th.
"Fireworks can be a serious threat to public health," said Pamela Rice Walker, Interim Director of Health for the City of St. Louis. "Accidents involving fireworks can be fatal and place increased demands on fire and emergency medical service personnel."
Most injuries occur to hands, fingers and eyes. Bottle rockets, fountains, Roman candles and sparklers cause the most injuries. Sparklers, often considered the firework for children, can burn as hot as a blow torch and can easily ignite clothing.
Residents who will be engaged in the legal possession and discharge of fireworks in other jurisdictions are advised by the Department of Health to follow the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission tips below:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that come in brown paper packaging, as this can often be a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
- Adults should always supervise fireworks activities. Parents often don't realize that there are many injuries from sparklers to children under five years of age. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees -- hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move back to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light one item at a time then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
Department of Health
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