Safety first when it comes to backyard fireworks

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Burton Fire helps demonstrate the dangers of fireworks used improperly and without safety precautions

BURTON, S.C. (WSAV) – Thousands of you will be looking up at the skies at professional fireworks shows on the Fourth of July.

But some will want to try their hands at backyard fireworks.

Officials say more than 9,000 people are hurt in fireworks accidents every year. Burton Fire is helping share the dangers of lighting that match with a demonstration.

“It is a holiday where explosives and alcohol tend to mix. it is not a good combination,” explains Cpt. Daniel Byrne of the Burton Fire Department.

That’s why Burton Fire wanted to show how much damage can be done with a few simple fireworks.

For example, an M-80 firecracker, one of the most popular items on the holiday, can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

“One small firecracker and the grip and the way you hold it can do quite a bit of damage,” said Byrne. “It would have burned through the skin, gotten into the meat, the muscle, the tendons. It could cause you to lose the use of your hand. Many times it is your dominant hand because that is the one you are holding the firework in, and it could have an impact for the rest of your life.”

A roman candle placed and shot from the ground is seemingly far enough away from danger.

“How many times have you lit a firework or something and you walk up to take a closer look or you are not paying attention,” said Byrne. “All it takes is the wrong angle, even if you handle it totally appropriate and it just explodes prematurely or it comes out of the tube the wrong way and the same thing can happen.”

The demonstration showed just what can happen, one explosion at a time.

“I was surprised at how little the explosion was but how much damage it did,” said Byrne. “You never know what an explosive is going to do, if it’s going to react properly, if it is going to react the way you think it will react and thereby bystanders and children could get hurt.”

If you do want to light off fireworks at home officials advise having water at the ready in case of an emergency.

In addition:

  • Aim the fireworks away from any flammable material and away from people.
  • Never extend your body over a device.
  • Never relight what you think is a “dud’ firework. It could just be waiting to go off and then it could be too late.

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