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Firework Safety

By: Sahar El-Hodiri
By: Sahar El-Hodiri

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The big rise in patriotism since Sept. 11 is expected to trigger a big rise in firework sales this Independence Day.

But safety officials worry that could mean many more injuries.

There are almost 10,000 injuries from fireworks every year.

You might think of things like sparklers as ''safe'' fireworks, but they're much more dangerous than they look.

This Fourth Of July could be more explosive than before. With more of us showing our patriotism, safety experts expect a big ''bang'' and worry there will be more trips to the emergency room.

Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Thomas Moore says, "We're asking people to have fun, enjoy the 4th but be careful, be careful in your use of fireworks and that's what's important."

The CPSC demonstrated today just how dangerous fireworks can be. The CPSC urges us not to buy illegal fireworks, like M-80s or M-1000s.

But even with legal fireworks, you need to be careful. Sparklers can cause severe burns and other injuries, and they're considered the safety type of fireworks.

Licia Hurd is a nurse at Via Christi's Burn Center.

She says every Fourth Of July, they see injuries in both adults and kids.

Hurd says, "A lot of kids under the age of 5. Usually burns from sparklers, contact burns."

To use fireworks safely, always have adult supervision, only light fireworks on a smooth flat surface away from houses and flammable materials. Never try to relight a firework even if it didn't work the first time. And keep a bucket of water nearby in case there's a fire.

Last year, the fireworks that caused the most injuries in Kansas were firecrackers, roman candles and sparklers.

It's best to leave the fireworks to the professionals.

A great place to watch professional fireworks on the Fourth of July is "Celebrate" at Lawrence Dumont Stadium. For more information call 267-3372.


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