While the Fourth of July is a time for families and friends to get together and celebrate with fireworks, officials are warning East Valley residents to follow crucial safety measures in order to avoid unexpected hospital trips.
And the most dangerous fireworks aren’t necessarily the illegal ones, said Banner Health Injury Prevention Coordinator Tracey Fejt.
“If a small firework doesn’t go off, you’re supposed to wait 20 minutes before dousing it with water,” she said. “Instead, many people go back to check on it and it explodes.”
“You’re never supposed to relight them, either,” she continued. “All of these things we all should know, but none of us think of because ‘it’s not going to happen to me.’”
Novelty sparklers, which are generally given to children during the holiday, can burn at up to 1,800 degrees,
That’s hot enough to burn metal or glass, Fejt said.
“If you give a little one a sparkler and they touch the wrong end — we can get some huge injuries,” said the health expert. “I don’t think any parent thinks sparklers are dangerous but they are.”
The most injured body parts often include eyes, head, faces and ears, hands and fingers, arms and legs, while more than 44 percent of the injuries are burns, the CPSC says.
If a burn accident does occur, Fejt said to cover the affected area immediately with damp, cold cloth.
Any exposure to the air can make symptoms feel worse, she explained.
“If it’s severe enough to go into the emergency room, covering it and getting air off of the burn will actually decrease that pain,” said Fejt. “If it’s a smaller burn, don’t the break blisters and look for signs of infection later.”
Other Fourth of July safety tips Fejt offered include storing used fireworks in buckets of water and keeping all kinds of explosives away from kids.
Glow sticks are a much safer option, she added.
Fejt advises anyone looking to celebrate in their own home or residential area to check their local town or city ordinances because every community is different.
“Just because you can light a firework in Gilbert doesn’t mean you can in Chandler,” Fejt said. “Also know the difference between professional fireworks, which come in brown bags, versus the fireworks you can buy from a stand.”
Most permissible consumer fireworks don’t go into the air or explode, according to the Chandler Police Department.
In Chandler, permissible fireworks include small sparklers, smoke devices, snakes party poppers and other similar products — all of which can be used on private property from June 24 through July 6.
Human beings aren’t the only ones who need to be protected during the holiday, though.
Animal control officials across the country report a 30 percent increase in lost pets each year between July 4 and 6, while July 5 is one of the busiest days of the year for shelters.
Mesa Animal Control Supervisor Shannon Gross said has a few tips for pet owners who aren’t going to be home the night of the Fourth.
“Definitely leave your pets inside with either the television or radio on to block out any noise from outside,” she said. “If your dog is used to being crated, then crate them, if not, then don’t because it could cause even more anxiety.”
Gross also recommends owners get their pets microchipped or licensed in the event they do get lost, which could prevent them from going into a shelter.