Independence Day means fireworks, and fireworks mean risks of injury, fireAs the skies fill with multicolor explosions tonight and Sunday, “ohs” and “ahs” will most likely be heard along with the loud booms and bangs that make the Fourth of July one of the most distinctive American holidays.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
As the skies fill with multicolor explosions tonight and Sunday, “ohs” and “ahs” will most likely be heard along with the loud booms and bangs that make the Fourth of July one of the most distinctive American holidays.
It’s important to remember safety when lighting off fireworks, or the sounds uttered could be more painful than enjoyable, said Dr. Scott Goecke, emergency medicine at Jamestown Hospital.
While the majority of fireworks injuries in Jamestown are eye related, Goecke said he has seen fingers blown apart to the bone and needing amputation.
“If fireworks don’t go off — leave them,” he said.
Goecke said he’s treated people who stood over bottle rockets that had not gone off and then had to go to the emergency room after taking a rocket to the eye.
He had many safety tips and said most are common sense.
Adults should supervise children and a bucket of water should be kept near to drown duds, he said. One firework should be lit at a time in a clear open area on a solid surface.
Goecke said he has had no visitors to the ER with fireworks-related injuries this year.
“By following common sense and safety rules mentioned, you should have a safe and happy Fourth of July without going to the ER,” he said.
Fire Chief Jim Reuther agreed that most fireworks safety rules are common sense and some are reflected in the Jamestown City Code.
City Code regulates some common sense safety tips like fireworks should not be shot out of moving vehicle or at another person. The code also says fireworks are not to be used within 300 feet of combustible or flammable materials, or within 300 feet of any location where they are sold.
Also, just because the grass is green, it doesn’t mean it won’t burn, Reuther said.
“The biggest thing is it’s dry out and that grass will burn,” he said.
Since fireworks were legally allowed to be sold in Jamestown on June 27, the Jamestown Fire Department has responded to three grass fires caused by them, he said.
When shooting fireworks into a field Reuther suggests waiting to see if a fire starts instead of leaving immediatley.
City Code also mandates that fireworks stands are in locations approved by the fire chief and must have two exits. Firefighters inspected all the stands before they were allowed to open for business.
Nate Schatz, co-manager of Black Powder Fireworks in Jamestown, has another tip: make sure there is a stable base when firing shells.
If a base or tube is flimsy or broken, do not use it because it could tip and fire at people, Schatz said.
He has also experienced fireworks injuries firsthand.
He inspected what he thought was a dud shell in a PVC pipe when part of the pipe exploded, scarring his upper lip because it was loaded upside down.
“Make sure you put your artillery shells in right-side up,” Schatz said.
Even with injuries and fire calls, Reuther said fireworks are a strong part of the Fourth of July.
“It’s tradition, that’s what it is,” he said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at email@example.com