Firework Fun: Leave it to the professionals
My Fourth of July is usually spent at the Village of Lancasterís celebration and I can honestly say it is one of my favorite events to attend. I am always amazed at the number of people who come out for the rides, concerts, and contests that are held.
But the one thing I look forward to the most is the colorful sight of fireworks exploding in the nightís sky. I get goose bumps from the sound and feeling of a fireworks show and a feeling of national pride.
In New York State consumer fireworks such as firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, roman candles, bombs, and sparklers, are all prohibited. A town or village such as Lancaster is required to apply for a permit and the operator must have a license and each display must have one person holding a Pyrotechnicianís Certificate of Competence.
So, anywhere in the state the use of fireworks by those who do not have a permit is illegal. Unfortunately, some people donít comply with the law and take it upon themselves to put on their own show and that is where the problem lies. Shooting off illegal fireworks can turn a joyful celebration into a painful memory when children and adults are injured.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2010, approximately 8,600 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries that were associated with fireworks. More than half of these injuries were burns, and most of the injuries involved people's heads including the face, eyes and ears, as well as hands, fingers and legs.
More than 50 percent of the estimated injuries involved children and young adults under the age of 20. Among those harmed included an 11-year-old boy who found an unused golf ball-shaped firework on the beach and lit it. The firework exploded in the boy's hand and he lost his right index finger, middle finger, and thumb.
Not only can the illegal use of fireworks lead to injuries, but it can also lead to hefty fines, a cost that I am sure many of us do not need. But this is the real world and many of us know that even before Fourth of July comes, we will be seeing and hearing fireworks going off all around us.
So, I want to stress that under no circumstance should any child be allowed to play with fireworks. If youíre going to set off fireworks make sure it is in an outdoor clean area, away from houses, people, dry leaves and other flammable materials. Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies, do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks, and lastly never light fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
But remember you could avoid the risk of injury or a fine by celebrating your Independence Day safely at one of the many legal fireworks displays such as Lancaster, Cheektowaga, University at Buffalo, or Darien Lake. Leave it to the professionals when it comes to fireworks.