Enjoy those fireworks, but keep safety No. 1
Jul 03, 2014 | 610 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On this eve of the always spirited Fourth of July holiday, it’s hardly news to anyone that safety should be paramount in the actions and minds of any, and all, who use fireworks to celebrate America’s 238th birthday.

It might even be easier to ask, “Who is NOT going to be around fireworks this coming holiday, either as a participant or an excited observer?”

The point is, when using fireworks, remember these three important tips:

1. Think safety.

2. Teach safety.

3. Practice safety.

That’s not to say accidents won’t happen. They will. But an ounce of mindset bent on safety will surely yield a pound of accident prevention. It will also keep area emergency rooms less busy.

Akin to the midnight warnings of Paul Revere, we sounded our trumpets aimed at safe practices on the coming Fourth of July — that’s Friday, for any who may have left your calendars on June — three years ago. We did so again in 2012. We repeated it in 2013. And yes, we’re doing it again this year. It’s that important.

Fireworks aplenty are already lighting the skies above Bradley County and an even larger wave of explosions awaits the official holiday; namely, we refer to the colorful doins’ centered above the T.L. Lowery Ministry Center on Paul Huff Parkway, as well as those along the Highway 64 Flea Market. Both are popular destinations for area residents wishing to add some snap, crackle and pop to their day off work.

Admittedly, we at the Cleveland Daily Banner are worrywarts when it comes to our community’s and its residents’ well-being, especially during this time of year. With that apology, please allow these few reminders.

We’ll hold our suggestions to six, and we credit their mindfulness to Phantom Fireworks, the respected company that makes many of the merry-makers that will be set off Friday night such as Phantom and Wolf Pack brands:

1. Never allow children to handle fireworks. Only adults who are sober before using them should handle and ignite the fireworks.

2. Use fireworks only in clear, open spaces. Ignite fireworks from a hard, flat surface. Keep your audience a safe distance from the launch site and fallout zones.

3. Have a ready source of water close by and easily accessible. A connected water hose is best, but a bucket of water or fire extinguisher will suffice.

4. Do not attempt to relight duds. Unexploded fireworks can be unpredictable and dangerous.

5. Follow local laws regarding the use of fireworks. This is important because their use is illegal in some areas, such as within the city limits of some municipalities (including Cleveland); and in some geographic regions, even entire counties.

6. When igniting fireworks, use a long-neck butane lighter or similar device that provides an appreciative distance between the fuses and the hands that are lighting them.

Because we use their safety recommendations, it is important for our newspaper — or any newspaper or other news media outlet for that matter — to specify we are not endorsing Phantom products. However, their safety tips seem like wise counsel.

We especially like the three-word caution issued a couple years ago by a Phantom executive. In a press statement, he emphatically stated, “Use common sense.” He even capitalized the letters.

We agree. That’s because the fireworks executive’s words speak in a volume far louder than his fireworks ever will.

While common sense to one person might contradict such interpretation by another, the fundamental principal is the same: Fireworks are explosive devices, not toys, that go “boom” by night or day, and their incendiary results can spread more than just colorful majesty and breathtaking beauty.

Thanks to public awareness campaigns like those conducted by the fireworks industry, as well as by an explosion of U.S. government agencies, the frequency of injuries related to July 4th fireworks continues to slowly decrease.

That’s the good news. The bad news is people are still getting hurt, sometimes severely and sometimes receiving nothing more than minor burns.

But an injury is an injury.

So, keeping that in mind, enjoy your Fourth of July holiday, but do it safely. And do it wisely.

Make sound decisions.

Follow the rules.

And use common sense.