Health & Safety

June 28, 2013

Celebrate July 4th safely!

Freedom Fest will be held July 4th at Wings & Roberts Fields from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

As the Fourth of July approaches the Edwards AFB Fire Prevention Office would like to pass on some tips during the holiday.

With the pleasant weather expected throughout Southern California over the July 4th weekend, the Edwards AFB Freedom Fest events should be fun and memorable.

Nonetheless before your family celebrates, it’s a great time to discuss fireworks safety. The best way to protect your family is to let the professionals do all the work and just sit back and enjoy.

The base is sponsoring the Freedom Fest fireworks show, which begins at 9:30 p.m. at Arnold Park July 4th.

If not handled properly, fireworks can cause burns and eye injuries.

The best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home – period.

Lighting fireworks at home isn’t legal in many areas including on base. As reported by the L.A. County Fire Department, the following communities have outlawed fireworks: Agoura Hills, Arcadia, Avalon, Beverly Hills, Bradbury, Burbank, Calabasas, Cerritos, Claremont, Covina, Culver City, Diamond Bar, El Segundo, Glendale, Glendora, Hermosa Beach, Hidden Hills, La Cañada, Flintridge, La Habra Heights, La Verne, Lancaster, Lomita, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Monrovia, Palos Verdes Estates, Pasadena, Pomona, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, San Dimas, San Fernando, San Marino, Santa Clarita, Santa Monica, Sierra Madre, Signal Hill, South Pasadena, Torrance, Vernon, Walnut, West Covina, West Hollywood, Westlake Village and Whittier. All of Kern County except California City has outlawed the use of fireworks.

 

If they’re legal where you live, keep these safety tips in mind:

 

* Kids should never play with fireworks. Things like firecrackers, rockets and sparklers are dangerous. For instance, sparklers can reach 1,800° Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt gold

* Buy only legal fireworks (legal fireworks have a label with the manufacturer’s name and directions; illegal ones are unlabeled), and store them in a cool, dry place. Illegal fireworks usually go by the names M-80, M-100, Blockbuster, or the Quarter-pounder

* One-third of all fireworks are reported to be illegally made. Never try to make your own fireworks

* Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket or hose nearby

* Steer clear of others, fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even in jest

* Don’t hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting. Wear some sort of eye protection, and avoid carrying fireworks on your person

* Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush and leaves and flammable substances.

* Light one firework at a time (not in glass or metal containers), and never relight a dud

* Don’t allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time

* Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash

* Think about your pet; keep them indoors to reduce the risk to their sensitive ears

 

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. In fact, children ages 5 to 14 sustain the most injuries every year. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few understand the inherent risks, which include burns, eye injuries and explosion injuries to the hands and face.

In 2010, fireworks caused an estimated 15,500 reported fires, including 1,100 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 14,100 wildland fires. These fires resulted in eight reported civilian deaths and an estimated $36 million in direct property damage.

In 2010, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,600 people for fireworks related injuries; 57 percent to extremities and 37 percent to the head.

Statistically, the Fourth of July produces the largest amount of fires within the U.S.

If someone is injured by fireworks, seek immediately medical attention. If an eye injury occurs, don’t touch or rub it, this may cause even more damage. Also, don’t flush the eye out with water or attempt to put any ointment on it. Instead, cut out the bottom of a paper cup, place it around the eye, and immediately seek medical attention. Injuries to the eye are the most common preventable cause of blindness, so when in doubt, err on the side of caution.

If someone is burned, remove clothing from the burned area and run cool, not cold, water over the burn (do not use ice), and immediately seek medical attention.

Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed, but you’ll enjoy them much more knowing your family is safe. Take extra precautions this Fourth of July and your holiday will be a blast!

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this article or any other safety tips, feel free to contact the Edwards Fire Prevention Office at (661) 277-3643.

 




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