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June 30, 2010: CPSC Addresses Firework Safety

On June 29, 2010, in anticipation of Fourth of July celebrations The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC), released a statement regarding firework safety.

The press release mentions that in 2009 there were two deaths and nearly 9,000 emergency room visits for injuries resulting from fireworks related incidents. CPSC explains that most fireworks injuries occurred in people younger than 20 and in many cases resulted in the loss of a limb.

The article quotes Chairman Inez Tenenbaum who says "consumers need to heed our warning: fireworks related incidents, especially those involving illegal fireworks, can  be fatal,"recommending that consumers,  "only use legal fireworks and follow CPSC's tips to ensure your  holiday remains festive and safe."  She states that during the 30 days surrounding last year's Independence Day holiday, there were nearly 6,000 reports of firework related injuries.

The most frequently reported injuries were burns and lacerations to the hands, the face and the head, while more than half of the injuries during this time period were related to firecrackers, bottle rockets, and sparklers.

CPSC says that it is “working closely with our federal partners to enforce fireworks regulations, protect our ports, prosecute  manufacturers and distributors of illegal explosives, and educate the public about the risks associated with  fireworks, “ and insists that the  federalgovernment is committed to stopping the manufacture and sale of illegal fireworks.

CPSC offers the following advice to consumers who decide to purchase legal fireworks:

       Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.

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

       Avoid buying fireworks that come in brown paper packaging, as this can often be a sign that the fireworks  were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.

       Adults should always supervise fireworks activities. Parents often don't realize that there are many injuries  from sparklers to children under five. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.

       Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move back to a  safe distance immediately after lighting.

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

       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 one item at a time then move back quickly.

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

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

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