Eye protection is critical when practicing fireworks safety this 4th of July


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Ahead of the 4th of July, explosives and safety experts say safety is a must. They urge you to make sure you are taking the necessary precautions while you enjoy yourself with legal fireworks and sparklers.

The most common fireworks injuries are to the hands, legs, and eyes according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. And sparklers can burn as hot as a blow torch, reaching temperatures of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit when lit. These can be dangerous.

Of course, safety such as keeping fireworks away from children, having adult supervision, and keeping your body away from fireworks devices is important. But you might not think about eyewear.

Michael O'Lena, Explosives Enforcement Specialist, said, "Part of using any type of firework, whether it be a consumer type or a display type, is knowing eye protection is paramount to protecting the individual using them. These products, they burn at very high temperatures."

He said fireworks injuries can include eye burns or blunt force trauma.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology said eye injuries from fireworks should be considered medical emergencies, and you should seek medical attention immediately. They offer these tips on keeping your eyes safe when using sparklers and fireworks:

  • Do not rub your eyes.
  • Do not rinse your eyes.
  • Do not apply pressure.
  • Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
  • Do not apply ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen unless directed by a doctor.

Ann Marie Buerkle, Acting Chair of the CPSC, said, "If you try to ignite a firework and it doesn't ignite, discard it, don't try to reignite it. If you're going to use fireworks have a bucket of water or a hose handy and most importantly don't give fireworks to children."

The CSPC said there were an estimated 9,100 injuries due to fireworks in 2019, and firecrackers were the number one cause of those injuries. Sparklers accounted for more than half the estimated injuries for children under 5 years old.

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