July 1—As we celebrate the Fourth of July and honor those who serve or have served in our military to defend our country’s independence, Mobile Life Support Services, the largest emergency service provider in the Hudson Valley, offers safety tips for anyone who chooses to engage in the use of legal consumer fireworks to commemorate our nation’s birthday.
Although it is legal to purchase certain types of fireworks, Mobile Life cautions that they can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. Even less powerful devices such as small firecrackers and sparklers can be harmful. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing and were the reported source of more than 25 percent of emergency room visits related to firework injuries last year. The National Safety Council advises everyone to enjoy fireworks at public displays conducted by professionals, and not to use any fireworks at home.
According to a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report, in 2017, eight people were killed and more than 12,000 required medical treatment for firework-related injuries—a majority of which were experienced by children and young adults. In addition to direct injuries caused by fireworks, they also lead to an average of 18,500 fires each year, including structure and vehicle fires.
Mobile Life encourages residents to adhere to the following safety precautions when using fireworks and other such pyrotechnics:
Never allow young children to handle fireworks. Older children should use them only under close adult supervision.
Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper. This is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Fireworks are often present at large gatherings where alcohol may be present. Individuals responsible for handling the firework display should refrain from consuming drugs or alcohol prior to using firework devices.
Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands. Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.
Never ignite devices in a container. Refrain from carrying fireworks in a pocket or shooting them off in metal or glass containers.
Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire and soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
“Fireworks can be a great addition to Fourth of July celebrations, but safety should be the number one priority,” said Mobile Life President and CEO Scott Woebse. “So, grab a blanket and a patch of lawn, kick back and let the experts handle the fireworks display as you enjoy one of the many spectacular shows throughout the Hudson Valley.”
Mobile Life encourages families to enjoy one of the many upcoming regional fireworks displays or festivals, such as Town of Newburgh at Algonquin Park, City of Newburgh at the Waterfront, City of Kingston at the Waterfront, Town of Wallkill/Middletown at the Orange County Fairgrounds and the City of Poughkeepsie at the Walkway Over the Hudson. Mobile Life will be providing standby emergency medical coverage for several of these events and more.