Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The rockets red flare, bombs bursting in air...

The Fourth of July is such a pleasant holiday. Typically in nice (hot) weather, this day is a day to be proud that you are an American and BBQ-ing in the backyard. All is great until the sun goes down, however, then KABOOM, all bets are off.

Before anyone thinks that I don’t like fireworks, I have to say that I do like seeing those bright lights and colors exploding overhead. That, however, is not the problem. It’s the “non-professional” fireworks that cause me worry. Last year, nearly 9000 people required medical treatment for injuries sustained while setting off their own snap, crackle, pop. Nearly 40% of those injured were under the age of 15. A third of firework injuries involved the hand and by and large, that hand was male. Most people think of firework injuries the result of firecrackers, which certain do pack a wallop, but more than half of the injuries are from burns – and half of those burns are from Sparklers.

Sparklers? Really? Jeesh, Sparklers are those things you give little kids to play with, right? Yes, and that is the problem. What you may not know is that Sparklers burn exceedingly hot. Depending on the chemical used, they can burn at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit or more. (For reference, glass melts at a balmy 900 degrees.) So, now think of any other circumstance in which you would give a little kid something hotter than molten glass...

Fireworks also caused more than 18,000 fires in 2009, 700 of which were homes and 400 were vehicles. Additionally, many pets run away over this holiday and some injure themselves trying to escape the loud noise.

So, my new category – prepare for the Fourth of July! Along with getting out the BBQ, husking some corn and baking an apple pie, make sure that your pets are locked indoors and safe. Some soothing music would help, too. Make sure that your lawn has been watered thoroughly and no piles of leaves or dried debris are lying around. Keep an eye on the “celebrators” in your neighborhood and discourage any fireworks displays in front of your house (which could range from asking them politely to calling the police).

Don’t become a statistic during this holiday. Relax, enjoy your good cooking and be glad you’re an American. Just without the red glare.

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