It’s June, which means the celebrations of the 4th of July are almost here. Amazingly, Americans spend millions of dollars every Independence Day on fireworks. And this fascination with fireworks has come at a cost: there are over 9000 injuries every single year due to fireworks. Fireworks are not toys, but incendiary devices that can cause severe harm to the body; one small firecracker has enough power to permanently blind someone. Other fireworks, such as a sparkler, which is unfortunately often touted to be a firework for children, burns at over 2000 degrees—that’s hot enough to melt some metals; imagine how such an extreme heat can damage skin (Or the eyes).
One of the ways in which people often become injured with fireworks happens when they’ve lit a firework and, when it doesn’t explode/ignite, people believe that firework is either burnt out or considered a dud—a misfire. But most fireworks are not reliable, and a firework that appears inactive can suddenly and unexpectedly explode.
The most amazing fact of fireworks is that bystanders are injured at the same rate as those who light them. Firework types that shoot projectiles are often unreliable, and the pattern of the projectiles can unexpectedly point in strange directions.
Here in Billings, the use of fireworks is illegal, even on the 4th. You can incur a hefty fine by the city if an Officer catches you out, lighting fireworks in the city limits. But a fine won’t keep everyone from participating in the holiday with fireworks. But hopefully we can spread a little awareness of the dangers of fireworks, dangers that can include permanent blindness and even death.
We hope you enjoy the summer and the 4th of July holiday, but remember to stay safe and enjoy the holiday responsibly. Remember that even the simplest fireworks—firecrackers and sparklers—should never be handed to a child. And if you do participate with fireworks, take extra precautions; both those who are lighting the fireworks and those who are watching should wear protective eyewear.
Have a safe and enjoyable holiday!