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With the Fourth of July just around the corner it is essential to remember the importance of celebrating safely – especially when fireworks are involved. Fireworks, which may seem like harmless fun, can be dangerous and even deadly. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that in 2014 there were 11 fireworks-related deaths and over 10,000 injuries across the United States. Children between the ages of 10 and 14 are at three times the risk of fireworks injuries than the general population. Fireworks also account for an average of 20,000 reported fires per year.
“Caps, sparklers, and snakes are the only legal fireworks within the State of Iowa,” says Vance B. McKinnon III, Fire Marshal and Battalion Chief with the Cedar Rapids Fire Department. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 41% of all firework injuries are caused by sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals. If you do choose to celebrate this Fourth of July with fireworks here are some tips from the CPSC to keep you and your family safe:
• Make sure the fireworks you want to buy are legal in your area before buying or using them.• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. • 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.• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap.• Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.• Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from them quickly.• After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.
McKinnon III also reminds residents that it is illegal to possess prohibited fireworks within the city limits of Cedar Rapids. Linn County Public Health encourages the community to enjoy fireworks safely and attend a public fireworks display instead, leaving the pyrotechnics to the professionals.