By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer
Every Fourth of July there are invariably some headlines about those who lost fingers or limbs due to accidents involving firecrackers or fireworks. It needn’t be that way if safety is as much a consideration as celebrating.
In order to celebrate responsibly, consider these ten tips:
- Leave it to the professionals – go watch a city display instead of trying it at home. [Okay, there are 10 more since many of you just won’t take this advice.]
- Never give fireworks to small children or let them attempt to light them.
- Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
- Never place a firecracker in a container – flying shrapnel can result.
- Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
- Keep a supply of water and first aid kit close by as a precaution.
- Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
- Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place – locked away from children and pets.
- Alcohol and fireworks are a recipe for disaster. Save the drinking for after the fireworks.
- Consider your pets – they really aren’t going to enjoy all the noise – some will be terrified – so find them a safe interior room or space in the basement where they won’t hear as much noise.
Regarding tip #10, if you’ve successfully enjoyed your own fireworks, consider yourself lucky. Someone else certainly won’t be so lucky, and they may need blood in the emergency room.
Consider donating during the week of the Fourth. Blood drives see a big decrease during the holiday week, but the need never decreases. If you’ve been blessed enough to not need it, be the donor that someone else needs.
Check your Red Cross Blood Donor app or go to RedCrossBlood.org to locate a donation time and site convenient for you. You’ll receive a special edition Red Cross T-shirt as a special thank you (while supplies last.)
For more tips on safely enjoying your holiday weekend, see this article at RedCross.org.