A happy July 4th is a safe July 4th - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

A happy July 4th is a safe July 4th

July 4, 2007

Albany-  A happy July 4th is a safe July 4th. Nearly three-fourths of all fireworks injuries occur during the weeks around this holiday. Wednesday is the biggest night for fireworks. Last year, more than 9,000 Americans were treated in emergency rooms for firework related injuries. Three times as many men were injured as women.

For nine year old Eugene James, finding the biggest bang for his Fourth of July wasn't easy.

"I'm looking for different kinds like sparklers, spinners, and stuff," said James.

While Eugene anxiously awaits nightfall and the chance to see what his money has bought, there's a warning for parents to be the ones in charge tonight.

"Adults need to be the primary person shooting the fireworks or lighting the fireworks," said Lt. J.C. Warren, Albany Fire Department.

"Hopefully I'm not going to light myself on fire tonight trying to help them out," said Stacey Lemke.

More than half of fireworks injuries are burns and sparklers account for one third of the injuries to children.

"Some of the sparklers are a little safer for kids, but the rod of them can still get hot and burn their fingers," said Warren.

Fire officials say a parking lot or other paved area is the best for setting off fireworks, not near a home or shrubs.

"Grasses and pine straw in your flower beds they always dry up fairly quick and they can ignite very easily from a spark off a firecracker," said Warren.

Fire officials recommend keeping a bucket of water, a garden hose, or a fire extinguisher available while your setting off your fireworks and as long as your careful, everyone should make it through the Fourth of July injury free

"As long as we keep our eye on them I think everything will be alright," said Lemke.

Most often with fireworks injuries occur to the hands, eyes, and head. Fire officials say you should light only one firework at a time and never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks.

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