Proper precautions provide perfect party

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    As the Fourth of July nears, fireworks may harm adventure-seeking amateurs who don’t take special precautions.

    Nathan Richards, 22, a senior, from Beaver Creek, Ohio, majoring in Anthropology experienced several burns from fireworks when he was a teenager.

    “I’ve blown Black Cats up in my hands and got blood blisters, I’ve had bottle rockets explode on my ankles, and I’ve been hit in the face with a roman candle,” Richards said. “But I thought it was all cool and I would keep playing with fireworks if I had access to them.”

    Richards said he and his friends played games with roman candles.

    “Every Fourth of July we would go out there and have roman candle wars in our cul-de-sac,” Richards said. “[We would] stand on the edge of the cul-de-sac and everybody would light them up and you weren’t allowed to move and you’d just pray it didn’t hit you. It was way fun though.”

    Most injuries associated with fireworks are principally caused by misuse, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Utah licensed fireworks industry. The licensed Utah Fireworks industry has offered several safety rules for people celebrating with fireworks this year. They have asked consumers to purchase only legal fireworks and to never experiment with or re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks. Adults should never give them to small children. Additionally, the industry said fireworks are to be stored in a cool, dry place and users are to keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy.

    Fireworks have not only harmed Richards-9,500 people were also treated in hospitals for fireworks-related injuries in 2001, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The majority of the injuries were burns.

    The best way to enjoy fireworks displays includes sitting 500 feet from the fireworks, focusing on the quality and brightness of the colors and counting the number of explosions in a shell, according to the Texas Pyrotechnic Association. Observers should refrain from keeping any leftover material they find after the show.

    Teenage boys between the ages of 11 and 15 seem to be the target audience for fireworks accidents, according to the Department of Trade and Industry. The industry also targets parents with young children less than five years of age who may be involved in accidents with sparklers.

    While Utah allows fireworks, eight states have banned the use of fireworks by consumers, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Utah has specifically prohibited several types of fireworks, including firecrackers, roman candles and cherry bombs.

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