Editorial: Fireworks great, but they can be dangerous, so follow these precautions

Jul. 02, 2013 @ 11:46 PM

In many areas of the county the booming sounds of the Fourth of July are off to an early start. People who buy their fireworks for the holiday are setting them off in the night, and that means tonight and Thursday night will be extra noisy for many residents.

The American Red Cross wants everyone to enjoy their holiday, but keep it safe. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge will hold their fireworks shows Thursday night. Both are free to attend. The Red Cross urges people to stay at least 500 feet away from the show.

If setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke — hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:

  • Call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place.
  • Quickly cool the body by applying cool, wet cloth’s or towels to the skin (or misting it with water) and fanning the person.
  • Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.

Download the free Red Cross first-aid app, which includes expert advice for everyday emergencies. The app is available for direct download from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.