You've heard the message for years. And it's been ignored for years: Fireworks are dangerous and should only be used in supervised situations.
At least eight people lost their lives in fireworks mishaps in 2017 while another 12,900 ended up in hospital emergency rooms with injuries, according to insurancejournal.com.
The deaths in 2017 included a four-year old Wisconsin girl who died from shrapnel when a metal tube filled with sparklers exploded after being set off by her father in their yard.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has received an average of seven fireworks-related death reports a year since 2002.
About two-thirds of the 11,000 to 13,000 fireworks-related injuries reported each year happen around the July Fourth holiday — between mid-June to mid-July.
Children under 15 years of age experienced about 36 percent of the injuries, and males of all ages were involved in 70 percent.
This July 4th many Americans and South Carolinians will continue the long tradition of lighting up the night with fireworks. While the displays are visually compelling, people should put safety first.
Fireworks-related injuries are preventable. They range from minor and major burns to fractures and amputations. In South Carolina, the most common fireworks-related injuries are burns and open wounds to the hands, legs, head and eyes, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
As wise as advice is about letting professionals handle the fireworks, reality is people will be shooting fireworks in a state and region in which sale thereof is legal and doing so is a tradition.
Therefore, some practical advice about being legal and safe is in order.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission notes that some types of fireworks are banned by law on a federal and local level. Among such fireworks are Cherry Bombs, Silver Salutes and M-80s, which have been banned by federal law since 1966 because of the large amount of explosive composition they contain.
In Orangeburg, a city ordinance states that a person can be arrested for having in his possession any of the illegal fireworks.
City ordinance also forbids the shooting of fireworks on Sundays and from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. on designated days. A violation of the city ordinance is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $1,000 or 30 days in jail.
Use your head when shooting fireworks:
• Always read and follow label directions.
• Purchase fireworks from a reliable seller. All fireworks must show the product name, manufacturer's name, cautionary labeling and instructions for proper use.
• Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks.
• Never give fireworks to small children and always have water in proximity.
• Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
• Monitor local weather conditions. Dry weather can make it easier for fireworks to start a fire.
• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
• Always read and follow directions on each firework.
• Only use fireworks outdoors, away from homes, dry grass and trees.
• Always have an adult present when shooting fireworks.
• Ensure everyone is out of range before lighting fireworks.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
• Light fireworks one at a time and keep a safe distance.
• After fireworks complete their burning, douse them with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.