Fireworks season in Louisiana continues until midnight on New Year’s Day, and while immensely popular, fireworks represent inherent and significant dangers if improperly handled.
To help ensure this season is a safe and happy time for all residents, state Fire Marshal Butch Browning reminds everyone of the potential of injury and damage fireworks can cause.
Each year, severe burns, disfigurement and deaths are directly attributed to the unsafe use of fireworks, a news release said.
The majority of those most at risk for injury from fireworks are children younger than 5, with children ages 10 to 14 being the second group most susceptible to injuries, the release said.
To illustrate the dangers, Browning’s office said sparklers, which are considered to be harmless by most people, can reach temperatures in excess of 1,200 degrees.
Browning’s office said a safer alternative is to attend community fireworks displays that are conducted by professional and licensed pyrotechnic operators in controlled venues and approved by an appropriate regulatory agency.
While there is no such thing as safe fireworks, the National Council on Fireworks Safety suggests the following steps to ensure an injury-free season:
Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
Know your fireworks by reading cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
Make sure a responsible adult supervises all firework activities, and never give fireworks to children.
Do not mix alcohol and fireworks.
Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
Light one firework at a time, then quickly move away.
Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.
Never relight a “dud” firework. Instead, wait 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water before disposing of it.
Always have a bucket of water and a charged water hose nearby.
Never carry fireworks in pockets or shoot them into metal or glass containers.
Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them and placing inside a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials.
Remember that Federal Aviation Administration regulations prohibit the possession and transportation of fireworks in checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
Report illegal explosives, such as M-80s and quarter sticks, to local fire or police departments.