LiveSmart: Happy July 4th! Celebrate Safely When Using Sparklers

The announcement last week from Gov. Andrew Cuomo that the July 4 fireworks show would return to the Empire State Plaza this year left many Capital Region residents elated, joyfully anticipating illuminated skies this Independence Day.

As the holiday draws near this weekend, many are likely considering having their own private shows. Keep in mind, though, that fireworks that rise into the air or explode remain illegal to possess and use in New York state.

The displays you see in the grocery stores, drug stores and other location this time of year are stocked with “sparkling devices” – sparklers, fountains, party-poppers and numerous other ground-based or hand-held items. These are legal for use in several local communities, but just because these “sparkling devices” don’t explode does not mean they are not potentially dangerous for adults and children.

Nationally, sparklers accounted for the number one cause of fireworks injuries that required trips to the emergency room in 2019, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. That year, more than 13,000 Americans were injured by sparklers, ranging from serious burns, to lacerations, contusions and foreign matter in the eyes.

As innocuous as they seem, sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit – hot enough to melt metal, which is exactly where all those pretty colors and sparks come from. Those sparks can catch onto clothing, hair and even spark a fire in your home.

So before you launch into your holiday festivities, consider these safety reminders to protect you and your family:

  • Don’t allow children to handle fireworks/sparklers
  • Keep a bucket of water or a running water hose nearby
  • Don’t carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Don’t light more than one firework/sparkler at a time
  • Don’t try to relight or pick up fireworks that haven’t ignited fully
  • Don’t consume alcohol or other substances if using fireworks
  • Use only outdoors on flat, hard surfaces like concrete in clear areas and away from houses, buildings, cars, and dry grass
  • Carry a cell phone in case of fire or if emergency services are needed

Please exercise caution this July 4 if you decide to use sparklers. Have a safe and happy holiday!

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