As the Independence Day holiday approaches, people will be heading to the pool, firing up the grill, or celebrating the holiday with a bang. However they celebrate our nation’s independence, ReadyWisconsin encourages everyone to make safety a priority.
“Unfortunately, one of the biggest celebrations in the country can end in tragedy if people don’t take precautions,” said Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Greg Engle. “Taking a moment to be a little more attentive and a little more cautious can help save lives and keep everyone’s celebrations bright and safe.”
In 2022, there were 107 emergency room visits in the state for fireworks-related injuries according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Nearly a quarter of those injured were children less than 18 years old. Children should never handle fireworks and should be closely supervised when they are in use. Even novelties like sparklers can burn at roughly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and easily ignite clothing and cause severe burns.
The easiest and best way to stay safe is to watch community fireworks shows run by professionals. However, if you choose to set off your own fireworks, ReadyWisconsin asks people to remember the following:
- Obey local laws and permitting requirements for the use of fireworks. Be aware of burning restrictions, especially with parts of the state currently experiencing abnormally dry and drought conditions.
- Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water or a hose nearby.
- Designate a safety perimeter. For ground-based fireworks, be at least 35 feet away.
- Ditch faulty fireworks. Sometimes fireworks don’t go off, but duds always pose a risk. The important thing to know is that you should never try to re-light or approach a failed firework.
- Don’t forget about your pets! Fireworks can be extremely stressful for pets. Keep them indoors. Close the curtains or blinds and turn on the TV or radio to provide some distraction.
- Only light one firework at a time. Lighting multiple fireworks at the same time increases the risk of accidents occurring from the fuse burning faster than designed.
- Consider safer alternatives to fireworks, such as party poppers, bubbles, silly string, or glow sticks.
During this time, people may try to beat the heat by jumping in a pool or lake.
- Make sure an adult is supervising children swimming or playing in or around water.
- Always swim with a buddy. No matter how strong of a swimmer you may be, never swim alone.
- Swimming in a lake or river is different from a pool. Know the risks of natural waters such as currents, waves, rocks, and limited visibility.
- Check weather conditions before activities in, on, or near water. Weather conditions can change quickly. If you see lightning or hear thunder, get away from the water.
The Fourth of July period is also a popular time for family trips and outdoor gatherings. Keep you and your family safe with these additional tips:
- If you are traveling, pack an emergency kit in your car with items such as bottled water, snacks, and a cell phone charger. Check 511Wisconsin for traffic-related information using the free mobile app or online at https://511wi.gov.
- Never leave people or pets in a parked car – even briefly. Temperatures inside a parked vehicle can climb to life-threatening levels within minutes. On an 80-degree day the temperature inside a parked car, even with windows cracked slightly open, can reach 100-degrees in less than 10 minutes.
- When cooking outdoors, remember to keep grills at least three feet away from your home or any structure that can catch fire. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and maintain a child-free and pet-free safe zone around the grill while it’s hot.