Here are some important safety tips for the July Fourth holiday

Posted at 12:46 PM, Jul 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-02 08:13:04-04

Fireworks and Independence Day celebrations go hand in hand, but when not used properly, the joy and beauty can bring pain.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says around 280 people go to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries every day in the weeks near the July Fourth holiday.

Fireworks can be the highlight of your party or the horror. 

Captain Chris Dixon with the Detroit Fire Department says small mistakes with fireworks can lead to big disasters. He said that many injuries are caused by improper use. 

"Read the instructions," Dixon said. "Never use alcohol when using these, and make sure you don’t have children and animals around."  

If a firework looks like a toy, your kids will probably think it is a toy.  
In a demonstration, a pretend sword fight turned into a very real fire. Fireworks with stakes to stick in the ground are sometimes used as flamethrowers by kids who don't fully understand the danger.  

Sparklers may seem like the perfect activity for kids but even those cause injuries.

"They can reach over 2000 degrees," Dixon said, which is why adult supervision, he added, is key.

Another tip: "Never go and investigate the firework if it doesn’t go off," Dixon said.

Douse it with water from a distance. Some fireworks look like they are fizzling but still have charge left.

"It’s intermittent," he said. "It’ll stop, you think it’s done and it starts again. They are very unpredictable."

Dixon says many injuries happen when people are holding a firework and just don't fully realize the power within one of the celebratory explosives, so he placed one inside a cinder block and lit the fuse.

"Using these devices incorrectly, you can see what can happen," Dixon said. "This is a cinder block that one of those projectiles just blew to smithereens."

Make sure you have water and a fire extinguisher nearby in case something does go wrong, you can prevent it from getting out of control.

And finally, designate a sober “fire watch” person at your party who promises to read all directions of the fireworks. Be aware of flammable objects in the vicinity and keep an eye on spectators, children and animals to ensure they are at a safe distance.