Firework Safety

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) - Fireworks store cash registers are racking up sales as many East Tennesseans get ready to light up the sky.

But firefighters worry you could light up your yard instead.

Not only that, you could hurt yourself and your family.

Today Knoxville Firefighters were blowing up fruit to show how fireworks could cost you more than the money you paid for them.

"We can't use humans so we use fruits and vegetables," said Roger Byrd from the Knoxville Fire Department.

And Kate Kinnaird knows why.

"You can get hurt," said Kinnaird, "My son got burnt on the hand a few years ago just holding a sparkler."

But like many East Tennesseans, she still picked up sparklers and smoke bombs for the Fourth.

"They do scare me so my husband and I will light them for the kids," Kinnaird said, "and the kids can watch."

"You can see them in the neighborhoods everybody does it," Byrd said.

That in spite of the fact that it may be against the law.

"You can buy these fireworks legally in other counties but they're illegal to use in the city of Knoxville and Knox County," said Darrel Whitaker of the Knoxville Fire Department.

But Knoxville Firefighters say if you light up your own fuses you could be become just like the shattered watermelon.

"They're not really safe even to be around," Byrd said.

And the intended fun could land you here.

"Around the country about 10,000 children a year will come in and be treated in the emergency room," said Dr. Heather Edgley from Children's Hospital. "They are just first degree or second degree burns all the way up to very severe eye injuries that can actually cause blindness."

And it's not from just the big boomers, both firefighters and doctors say even something as simple as a sparkler can spark a disaster.

"They can have a heat range up to 1,800 degrees, which is hot enough to melt gold," said Dr. Edgley.

They can easily catch your child on fire, and after this year's drought, could turn your backyard into kindling.

"I'm still extra careful," Kinnaird said.

But firefighters say it's safest just to leave it to to the professionals and Children's Hospital says if someone you know gets burned you should apply a cold compress or run it under colder water.
You should never slather the burn with Vaseline, because the burn needs to stay as clean as possible.

If someone gets hit the face or the eye, you should go the Emergency Room as soon as possible.


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