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‘It all starts with safety’: 8 tips you and your family can use to safely celebrate the Fourth of July with a bang

The Fourth of July weekend is here, but as families prepare to gather and celebrate the weekend...
The Fourth of July weekend is here, but as families prepare to gather and celebrate the weekend with a bang, the Bossier City Fire Department wants to make sure you stay safe.(Christian Piekos)
Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 5:35 AM CDT
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BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) - The Fourth of July weekend is finally here, and in a world plagued by a global pandemic for more than a year, friends and family are ready to gather to celebrate the country’s independence.

But before you light a fuse, Jimmy Phillips, chief of fire prevention for the Bossier City Fire Department, wants to make sure you do so injury free.

“It all starts with safety,” said Phillips. “You have to think about not just your safety, but also the safety of your family, friends, and loved ones.”

According to a 2019 report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, between June 21 and July 21, 2019, 7,300 people are believed to have been treated in hospital emergency rooms nationally due to firework-related injuries. The report reveals this specific month accounted for 73% of the total estimated firework injuries in 2019.

“Most common thing you see are burn injuries to the fingers from [people] trying to light fireworks and throw them,” explained Phillips. “It’s not uncommon to see a finger blown off.”

To avoid unexpectedly spending the holiday weekend in an emergency room, Phillips offers these tips for safely using fireworks:

  • Make sure you have time to move away from an explosive after lighting a fuse
  • Do not light a firework while standing over it, especially if it involves a mortar
  • Be cognizant of the environment in which you are lighting a firework
  • Buy a punk, or stem, to light a fuse. Essentially, this is a slow burning stick that allows someone to light an explosive at a distance.
  • Make sure you have water, or a water source nearby, in case there’s a need to douse a firework quickly
  • Do not drink and use fireworks. Make sure you designate a person who is lighting fireworks sober.
  • Closely monitor your children. Phillips urges parents to light fireworks, not kids.
  • Check to see if lighting fireworks is legal depending on which city, county, or parish you are in

“Adults, please set an example,” Phillips said. “Be safe, enjoy the Fourth of July, and have a good time.”

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