State officials ask residents to use caution with fireworks - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

State officials ask residents to use caution with fireworks


MADISON (WKOW) -- State officials are asking Wisconsin families to use caution with fireworks during this year's Fourth of July celebrations.

Fireworks can cause serious injuries and death if not properly used. Last year, doctors treated an estimated 8,700 fireworks-related injuries in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

"In the excitement of the holiday, adults occasionally let their kids handle or get too close to these explosive and incendiary devices; something they would never allow any other time of the year," Michelle Reinen, director of Wisconsin's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said. "40 percent of fireworks injuries are sustained by children under the age of 15. Adults should be responsible for the lighting of all fireworks, and children should enjoy the sights and sounds from a safe distance."

Wisconsin law regulates the use of fireworks. Fireworks such as Roman candles, firecrackers, bottle rockets, mortars, anything that explodes or leaves the ground, can only be purchased and used with a permit issued by your local government.

Non-explosive devices such as sparklers and cones do not require a permit, but officials say that does not mean they can be used safely by children. More than half of the nation's reported fireworks-related injuries are burns. 

"Many parents think of sparklers as a safe toy, but a lit sparker burns at temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause third-degree burns," State Health Officer Dr. Henry Anderson said.

Here are more tips to protect yourself and your family:
  • Adults igniting the fireworks should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.
  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • A responsible adult should closely supervise all fireworks activities.
  • Only buy fireworks from reliable sellers.
  • Only use fireworks outdoors.
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Always have water handy (a garden hose or a bucket).
  • If fireworks fizzle and don't ignite, douse them with water and do not relight them.
  • Light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from buildings, dry leaves and flammable materials.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Keep your pets indoors to reduce the risk that they will run loose and get injured. Many animals have very sensitive ears and can be stressed or frightened due to the lighting of fireworks.
For more information on fireworks safety you can go to Wisconsin Emergency Management's website or the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website.

Lori Wirth, with City of Madison Fire Department, will join us on 27 News at 5 on Monday to talk about fireworks safety.
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