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Fireworks: Let the experts handle them

Metro Wire Staff

When it comes to fireworks, here’s advice that could spare you—or a loved one—a devastating injury: Leave the shows to the pros.

Every year in the U.S., fireworks cause thousands of injuries, including severe burns and eye injuries. According to Aspirus health experts, many of these injuries are serious enough to require treatment in hospital emergency departments. Some are deadly. And those hurt or killed are often children or bystanders.

“Even sparklers are dangerous,” said Sara Steen, Manager of the Trauma Program for Aspirus Wausau Hospital. “They burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to burn some metals.”

Fireworks also account for 25 percent of fireworks injuries treated at emergency departments. That’s why the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) cautions that backyard fireworks simply aren’t safe. If you want to “ooh and aah” at fireworks this summer, take in a public display put on by experts, the NFPA advises.

If you light fireworks yourself, be sure to take these precautions:

-Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
-Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
-Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
-Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
-Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of a fire or other mishap.

Officials from the Wisconsin State Park System are also advising that for the safety of guests and natural resources, fireworks are prohibited on state properties.

According to Chris Madison, chief ranger with the system, Fourth of July favorites like sparklers and the snake, may not be defined as “fireworks” under state law, but most park and forest rangers and managers discourage their use because they are a fire hazard.

Citations for illegal fireworks in a state park can cost as much as $200.