When it comes to Fourth of July celebrations, safety officials are urging Los Angeles residents not to take matters into their own hands. Fireworks, though popular among children and children-at-heart, are illegal in many places in California. Firefighters and other safety officials are urging people to watch professional fireworks shows rather than lighting up fireworks of their own and risking burn injuries, hearing loss and other harm.
Fireworks are illegal and banned in unincorporated areas and in many cities served by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. "Safe and Sane" fireworks, which are approved by the state Fire Marshal, are allowed in some cities. But a doctor at a burn center says that even "Safe and Sane" fireworks, such as sparklers, can burn twice as hot as the log in your fireplace.
According to the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 5,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries between June 22 and July 22, 2012. More than half of the reports involved burn injuries to the hands, head and face. About 1,000 injuries involved sparklers and bottle rockets.
The CPSC recommends that people use the following safety tips around fireworks:
- Make sure that fireworks are legal in your area before you use them.
- Do not allow young children to play with fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees.
- Keep a hose or bucket of water nearby in case of fire.
- If a firework malfunctions, do not try to relight it. Soak it in water before disposing of it.
- Do not point fireworks at another person.
- After fireworks are done burning, does them with water before discarding to prevent trash fires.
Sources: Huffington Post, "Los Angeles Fireworks Warning Issued By Police," Dana Bartholomew, June 22, 2013; Consumer Product Safety Commission, "New CPSC Data Shows 60% of All Fireworks Injuries Occur Around July 4th; Firecrackers, Aerials, Homemade Explosives Cause Most Deaths, Injuries," June 26, 2013; Los Angeles County Fire Department