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Fireworks during the Fourth of July are as American as apple-pie and baseball, but the fun can end quickly if someone is injured. The three types of fireworks that keep hospitals emergency rooms the busiest are bottle rockets, firecrackers, and sparklers. Bottle rockets and firecrackers can fly in any direction prior to exploding and sparklers burn at temperatures hot enough to melt gold.

Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks – devastating burns, lost eyes, and other injuries, even death. According to the U.S. Consumer and Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 11 people were and more than 10,000 injured by fireworks last year.

  • A 19-year-old female died from smoke inhalation after a sparkler was thrown into a second floor window and ignited a fire inside her home.
  • A Detroit man was killed when a firework flew at him instead of in the air. He died of a perforation to the chest.
  • WXYZ chief meteorologist Dave Rexroth lost an eye to a fireworks explosion while celebrating the holiday with his family in Iowa.

This past weekend alone claimed the lives of a 47-year-old Walled Lake, Michigan man and a 12-year-old Nashville, Tennessee boy due to fireworks. Nine people were injured after a fireworks box fell over and fired into a crowd in northeast Ohio.

The CPSC released this video to demonstrate the damage fireworks can do.

If this isn’t enough to convince you to leave fireworks up to the professionals, please follow these recommended safety tips by the CPSC:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.

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