It's hard to imagine the Fourth of July without the dazzling fireworks displays that traditionally accompany it. Sadly, whenever fireworks are in the hands of amateurs, the excitement generated by the colorful explosive devices can also be accompanied by suffering and injury.
So Utahns ought to pay close attention to some good advice about fireworks that the National Society to Prevent Blindness-Utah Affiliate is trying to pass along.There are, as the society notes, many misconceptions about fireworks. One is that fireworks-related injuries occur only in non-regulated states. In fact, 45 percent of the eye injuries in regulated states are due to fireworks.
Another fallacy is that children are safe if they don't use fireworks. Actually, 25 percent of the eye injuries were to bystanders.
Still another fallacy is that some fireworks can be considered safe. But even the widely available sparklers burn at 1800 degrees, a temperature almost hot enough to melt gold.
If you're going to use fireworks, be sure to read and follow all instructions and warning labels, use them only outdoors in a clear area away from buildings and combustible materials, never ignite fireworks in a bottle or can, and keep water nearby for emergencies and to douse malfunctioning fireworks.
Better yet, take the advice of the National Society to Prevent Blindness: "Find out where you can enjoy a local fireworks display handled by trained professionals."
This year, the annual fireworks display sponsored by the Deseret News will be held Monday evening at Sugar House Park. Plenty of other professionally-supervised fireworks displays are available elsewhere throughout Salt Lake Valley and around the state. See you at one of them.