Letter: Think safety first on the Fourth
Fireworks are an essential part of the Fourth of July holiday for many. However, fireworks are dangerous explosives. The Illinois Insurance Association and its member companies are encouraging residents to yield to professionals for this year's fireworks display.
Federal, state and local laws and ordinances restrict and often prohibit individual fireworks displays. Despite these limitations, hospitals still treat thousands of individuals for firework-related injuries each year. In addition, requests for firemen to douse flames from hot sparks and falling debris multiply during this time.
Protect your family and friends this Independence Day by attending an approved fireworks display. Individuals resolved to putting on their own show should keep the following tips in mind:
• Buy properly packaged fireworks from a licensed seller.
• Appoint a responsible, sober adult to light the fireworks. Firecrackers, roman candles, bottle rockets and other novelties seem harmless but cause 41 percent of firework-related injuries. Another 19 percent are related to sparklers, which burn at temperatures as high as 1,200 to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Select a clear, flat, open area free of combustible debris to light fireworks.
• Review directions and ignite fireworks one at a time. Point them away from the crowd.
• Keep a water bucket or garden hose near the light-off location.
• Use water to extinguish spent fireworks. Place cooled remains in a metal trash can. Do not re-light duds.
Soak the nonfunctioning firework in a water bucket before disposal.
Don't become a statistic. Make firework safety top priority.
Kevin J. Martin, Executive Director
Illinois Insurance Association