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Fireworks Safety

Celebrating our freedom, riding in our neighborhood bike parade, eating apple pie and admiring the spectacular display of firework displays are just a few of the Fourth of July traditions we look forward to each year. However, there is a darker side of this upbeat holiday that many people do not recognize: the serious real danger of fireworks.

My smiling daughter enjoying our neighborhood's Fourth of July Bike Parade.

My smiling daughter enjoying our neighborhood’s Fourth of July Bike Parade.

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reported that in 2012, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,700 people for fireworks related injuries; 55 percent of 2012 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 31 percent were to the head. The risk of fireworks injury was highest for young people ages 15-24, followed by children under 10.

And how about those harmless sparklers? According to Encinitas Firefighter-Paramedic David Dumain, sparklers cause 16 percent of all firework injuries. “Even sparklers burn hot enough to cause third-degree burns,” explains Dumain.

In 2011, almost 18,000 fires were caused by fireworks. It’s no wonder the NFPA is opposed to consumer use of fireworks, which includes sparklers and firecrackers.

Dumain offers these important Fireworks Safety Guidelines to help keep families safe:

  • Leave fireworks to the professionals. Do not use consumer fireworks.
  • The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals.
  • After the firework display, keep a close eye on children. They should never pick up fireworks that may be left over, which could still be active.
  • If you do use fireworks (adults only), be sure to have an extinguishing agent handy and nearby, such as a bucket of water, garden hose, or fire extinguisher.

In Orange County fireworks are permitted in the following cities: Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Stanton, Villa Park and Westminster.

For a full list of California cities and counties that allow fireworks, visit

Kristal Zacharias is the mother of two beautiful, vivacious girls, and wife of a hunky husband who works in the action sports industry. For the past 15 years, Kristal has worked for several Fortune 500 companies as a professional communicator. Follow her journey at Clearly Kristal or on Facebook and Twitter.
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