This year, Prevent Blindness Georgia would like to see a difficult result.
The non-profit group is urging families to celebrate the nation’s 236th birthday without using pyrotechnics.
Jenny Pomeroy, CEO of Prevent Blindness Georgia, says they are seeking to educate the public on the potential dangers of fireworks.
“The Fourth of July should be a time when we come together to honor our country by celebrating our great nation safely and responsibly,” Pomeroy said in a June 21 statement. “We hope all Americans have a wonderful holiday with their loved ones, not in the emergency room.”
In 2010, an estimated 6,300 Americans spent part of their Independence Day holiday in the emergency room for fireworks-related injuries. In its annual fireworks report, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said that children under the age of 5 experienced an estimated 700 injuries. Most of those injuries came from sparklers, which accounted for 43 percent of the injuries.
Fireworks like sparklers, fountains and other novelties, accounted for two out of five injuries treated in emergency rooms.
To keep families and friends safe, Prevent Blindness Georgia offers these warnings:
- Fireworks are extremely dangerous.
- Do not purchase, use or store fireworks or sparklers of any type.
- Protect yourself, your family and your friends by avoiding fireworks and sparklers.
- Attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators, but be aware that even professional displays can be dangerous.
Fireworks laws vary from state to state.
The American Pyrotechnics Association says Georgia only allows individuals to have sparklers up to 100 grams each and fountains (items that say “Emits showers of sparks up to 200 grams total for multiple tube items or 75 grams for each individual tube”).
The state also allows individuals to use items labeled as snakes, glow worms, snappers and party poppers.
Georgia specifically prohibits individuals to use firecrackers, torpedoes, sky rockets, Roman candles and bombs.
Prevent Blindness Georgia continues to support bans on the importation, sale and use of all fireworks and sparklers, except for authorized public displays by competent licensed operators, which it believes is the only effective means of eliminating the social and economic impact of fireworks-related trauma and damage.
In 2010, there were more than 1,300 reported eye injuries caused by firework. In the event of eye-related accident, Prevent Blindness Georgia recommends the following:
- If there are specks in the eye, do not rub the eye. Use an eye wash or let tears wash out specks or particles. Lift the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower lid. If the speck doesn’t wash out, keep the eye closed, bandage and see a doctor or go to the emergency room.
- If the eye or eyelid is cut or punctured,
do not wash out the eye with water.
Do not try to remove an object stuck in the eye.
Cover the eye with a rigid shield without pressure. The bottom half of a paper cup may be used. Visit a doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.
For more information on fireworks safety, visit www.pbga.org or call 404-266-2020.