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July 4th, Making History… Or Becoming History

July 3, 1792, a day after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.” He further wrote, “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance… It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

That memorable epoch John Adams spoke of became the Fourth of July and today one of the main methods of celebration is fireworks. If we fail to do our part to promote and observe safety with fireworks, we may find consumer fireworks becoming history.

Groups of individuals across the nation have joined together to warn people about the dangers of consumer fireworks. They are supported by a number of broad based groups and are known as, “Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks”.

In 2010 alone, statistics reported in a June 21, 2012 release of a Fireworks Report which explores fire and injury dangers related to consumer fireworks showed an estimated 15,500 reported fires were started by fireworks and 8,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. There are more fires on a typical Fourth of July than any other day of the year. Fireworks account for more than any other cause of fires on the Fourth. The fires caused by fireworks in 2010 resulted in eight reported deaths, 60 civilian injuries, and $36 million in direct property damage.

We can do our part to reduce these staggering statistics. Here are some Fireworks Safety Tips offered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.

  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.

  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.

  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.

  • 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 fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.

  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

On behalf of the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office, remember that much of our state is experiencing extremely dry weather with great potential for fires. We encourage you to consider attending professional fireworks displays, remember that it is illegal to bring any firework into Nebraska from another state, think about the impact of fireworks on pets and livestock, practice all fireworks safety tips, and have a safe and enjoyable fireworks season.

The NSVFA wishes to thank the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s office for the above article written by Ray Nance.

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