Despite higher standards, safety still key with fireworks

It's always important to keep sand, water, or a fire extinguisher nearby when you are using fireworks.
It's always important to keep sand, water, or a fire extinguisher nearby when you are using fireworks.

By Brandi Cummings - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's the one Fourth of July tradition that's universal: fireworks.

"They're buying everything from small sparklers to fountains, to the real big shows," according to John Casey owner of Casey Fireworks on Rosewood Drive in Columbia.

Casey says over the last few years, fireworks have actually gotten safer.

"Now they're in boxes that are one fuse and they're really wide and they're a lot more stable," Casey says.

"We always equate celebration with fireworks and we just have to use precautions to protect ourselves and protect our eyes," according to Dr. Crystal Whittington, an optometrist and professor at the USC School of Medicine.

Whittington says 16 percent of all fireworks injuries are related to the eye.

"You can get a laceration with the eye, you can get a foreign body, you can get a contusion, and you can get something as serious as having to have the eye removed," Whittington says.

Casey helps his customers by showing a safety video and encouraging them to purchase safety goggles.

He demonstrated for how to properly light and watch an at home fireworks display. "You want to have an extinguisher and/or water in buckets and/or sand and/or a hose."

Dr. Whittington says, "You need to wear some type of safety eye glass protection. You need to make sure that children are aware that fireworks are not toys, they are dangerous."

We know it may be hard to explain to little ones just how scary fireworks are when they come shaped like a clock, a birthday cake, even a chicken, but not being safe could cost you more than anything you buy in a store.

Doctors say the safest way to enjoy fireworks is at an organized show, but if you must celebrate with them at home, use extreme caution.

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved.