It’s that time of year: some tips on fireworks safety

Many people celebrate the Fourth of July with a bang, literally. Fireworks are a staple at summer barbeques and celebrations throughout America. With the upcoming holiday, the Mattapan Community Health Center would like to reiterate the importance of firework safety. Almost 10,000 people were treated with firework-related injuries last year alone. Over the past ten years, thirty to thirty-three percent of these types of injuries were due to illegal fireworks.

In Massachusetts, it is illegal for private citizens to use, possess, or sell fireworks, or to purchase them legally elsewhere and then transport them into the state. There are designated places around the city where people can view fireworks such as on the Esplanade by the Charles River and at the Brockton Fair off Route 123. Nonetheless, the following safety tips must be taken into consideration whenever fireworks are being used, especially if you plan on visiting states where fireworks are permitted.

The most important thing to remember when using fireworks is that they are dangerous and must be treated with respect. They are basically controlled explosives that may lead to lacerations, burns, and even death if not used properly and under adult supervision. Firecrackers, sparklers, and skyrockets account for over fifty percent of injuries accumulated due to fireworks and must be handled with special consideration and care.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety has set forth some safety tips regarding firework usage:
Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water or a hose nearby
Fire far away from anything flammable such as trees or houses.

Always read and follow label instructions with an adult present and never ever give fireworks to small children.

Light fireworks one at a time and never point in the direction of other people. Do not carry fireworks in your pockets or light them in metal or glass containers.

Stay away from illegal explosives and dispose of fireworks properly soaking them in water and putting them in the trash can.

The Mattapan Community Health Center would like to wish everyone a safe and blissful Independence Day! Please enjoy the firework displays happening throughout the Boston area, where professionals with licenses are permitted to use them. Leave the hard work up to the experts. Just remember, there are better places to spend the Fourth of July Holiday than in the emergency room.

Note: Statistical data for this article was taken from The National Council on Fireworks Safety. Please visit fireworksafety.com for more information concerning safe use of fireworks and specific state laws concerning such use.

Johanna Gusman is a former HealthCorps Member at the Mattapan Community Health Center