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Emergency Services urges firework safety

POSTED: July 13, 2008 5:02 a.m.
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Tim Satterfield

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Emergency Services urges firework safety
Staff reports
Dawson County Emergency Services wants everyone to have a safe Fourth of July. 
"Don't put your home or children at risk -- use extreme caution when handling fireworks," urges Dawson County Deputy Chief Tim Satterfield. 
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 16 percent of all consumer fireworks injuries are caused by sparklers burning hands and legs, with the majority of sparkler injuries occurring to young children. 
In fact, sparkler injuries accounted for a third of all firework injuries to children five years or younger, Satterfield said.
"People should know the risks they face when using fireworks," said Satterfield. 
"Many fireworks are now legal in the state of Georgia," he said. "But even these must be used with great caution."  
Illegal fireworks, such as cherry bombs, M-80 salutes and large firecrackers containing over two grains of powder produce risks that can result not only in severe burns and blindness, but also in amputations or death.
"A good rule to follow is if it explodes or leaves the ground-it's illegal," Satterfield warned.
Dawson County Emergency Services urges citizens to follow these National Fire Safety Council guidelines for firework safety:
1.  Sparklers, considered by many as "safe," burn at very high temperatures, can easily ignite clothing, and stay hot long after burning out. They are as dangerous as matches or lighters to children. Be sure to collect all burned out sparkler wires for disposal.
2.  Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under close supervision. Never allow any running or horseplay.
3.  Use lighters with a child resistant feature. Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach.
4.  Light fireworks outdoors, one at a time, on a clear, smooth, flat surface away from houses, dry leaves or grass, or flammable materials.
5.  Keep water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on misfired or spent fireworks.
6.  Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
7.  Be sure other people and pets are out of range.
8.  Never experiment with fireworks or ignite them in a glass or metal container. Do not attempt to make your own.
9.  Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.  Store them in a dry, cool place out of the reach of children.
10.  Dispose of all fireworks properly.

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