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Exercise caution when using fireworks

Every year thousands of people are seriously injured by improper firework use. Whether the firework malfunctioned, or the person was using it recklessly, there are ways to minimize the risk of harm when using them.

According to an article by the National Safety Council, in 2016 four people reportedly died due to the improper use of fireworks. About 11,100 more were injured and required medical care, the article states.

According to an informational graphic by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks cause the most damage to hands and fingers, with 33 percent of firework-related injuries being to those extremities. The second-most damaged, at 28 percent, body part is the head, which includes the face and ears. Legs accounted for 18 percent of the reported injuries.

According to the NSC article, sparklers can cause clothes to catch fire and can lead to injures of the hands and feet. Bottle rockets commonly lead to chest, eye and head injuries – especially when purposefully fired at another person. Roman candles, which are often held in the hand after lighting them, can lead to severe burns on the hands. Some victims reported losing fingers, the article states.

Picayune Fire Marshal Pat Weaver suggests people wear protective eye wear when setting off fireworks. He also advised residents to avoid shooting them at a building or another person. Keeping a source of water nearby will help extinguish any flames that do occur. When children are using fireworks, Weaver urged parents to keep a close eye on them to prevent serious injury.

Fireworks have been a core part of the annual July 4th celebration. While they can be a fun addition to the celebration, it is important to keep safety in mind at all times when using them. If a person is unsure about how to properly use fireworks, it may be a better idea to go to a professional show rather than risk setting them off at home.