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Fireworks Fun and Safe

(The Freeman) - December 27, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines – Fireworks have become an endeared tradition in Philippine celebrations. And the New Year is the biggest of celebrations requiring the biggest sound of revelry and the most colorful fireworks display. The explosions in the neighborhood even start way before Christmas and last a few days after New Year's Day.

But the fun does not come without a price. The annual firecracker damage to life and limb has been alarming, so alarming for the country's health department to step in. At times, flying firecrackers stray and land on combustible materials, causing disastrous fires.

It seems the tradition is difficult to change, though. What can be done perhaps is to develop a corresponding attitude of carefulness.  The website www.fireworksuniversity.com suggests the following precautions to make the New Year's celebration fun and safe for all:

Have ready water source close by. Have fire extinguisher, water supply, hose or bucket easily accessible for emergencies. During any fireworks shoot, there should always be one individual assigned as the fireman, whose sole job is to be alert and at the ready with a water source in case of emergencies. Having a fireman at the ready is especially important during dry conditions or when to the shooting site.

Beware of windy conditions. Be cautious when lighting any fireworks during strong wind conditions, especially where there dry grass or bush in close proximity. And fireworks should be lit with the prevailing wind blowing away from spectators. If there is a significant wind shift while the fireworks are being lighted, the shooting site shall be rearranged or the activity stopped momentarily until the windy condition subsides.

Use fireworks outdoors, in a clear, open area. Never use fireworks indoors. Only use them outdoors under safe conditions, keeping the audience (particularly children) at a safe distance away from the shooting site. Always light your fireworks in a clear, open area away from buildings, vehicles and shrubbery. A minimum clear radius of 30 feet for fountains and other ground based items and 140 feet for any aerial product is recommended. You should avoid lighting the fireworks in any area where there are flammable items nearby.

Be very careful in handling fireworks. Fireworks must not be carried in the pockets. Better to keep them in a closed container before ignition. These must not be dropped, either. And it is absolutely prohibited when handling fireworks. Store and dispose of fireworks properly. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place and always dispose of them properly.

Wear safety eyewear. Safety eyewear is recommended for individuals lighting the fireworks and those in close proximity of the fireworks.

Be very careful in lighting fireworks. Always light your fireworks products with a stick, a pyro torch, any other such igniting tool. Position yourself as far from the product as possible and extend your arm out using the extended lighting device. This method of lighting enables you to keep as far from the firework item as possible. Use a flashlight at night so you can see the fuse; never use a lantern or other flame producing device near fireworks for illumination. Light the fireworks and get away as quickly as possible.

Never use fireworks as weapons. Never aim, point, or throw any fireworks at another person or at any property.

Light only one firework item at a time. Light only one firework item. Certain items, such as sparklers, when lit together will have a tendency to flare up in an uncontrollable and dangerous manner.

Keep clear of fireworks when lighting them. Never put your head above or stand over a lighted fireworks product. Never look into a tube to check on the firework item. Never hold a lit fireworks item in your hand. Keep as far from the firework item as possible when lighting and get clear of it as quickly as possible after ignition.

Be careful with fireworks stocked nearby. Exercise great care with fireworks not being used that are in the vicinity of your launch zone. Sparks from active fireworks can ignite idle fireworks and cause injury. Cover unused fireworks or put them in a sealed container to prevent accidental sparks from active fireworks.

Do not allow little children to handle fireworks. Never let children handle, play with or light any fireworks. Fireworks are great family fun, but they burn very hot and are intended to be handled only by adults.

Do not mix drinking and fireworks. Do not consume any alcoholic drink or use any drug if you are lighting or handling fireworks. Only persons who act in a sober and responsible manner shall handle fireworks. Those who are not in their right elements and use fireworks, run the risk of misusing and causing injury to themselves and others.

Use fireworks on a hard surface. Light fireworks on a hard, flat and level surface in order to ensure the stability of the items. This is particularly important when using the taller items and those aerial types that produce a thrust upon ignition. Grass, gravel and sand surfaces are not suitable for fireworks intended to be used in an upright position. If lighting fireworks on grass, gravel or sand, it is advisable to lay down a wooden board as a hard, flat shooting surface.

Take care of pets. Be considerate of your pets and animals when using fireworks. The noise and lights of the fireworks often frighten some animals, especially dogs and other house pets. You may want to consider moving the animals away or keeping them inside during a fireworks display.

Purchase fireworks only from reliable dealers and with the government's safety seal. Buy fireworks only from reliable, licensed consumer fireworks dealers. And properly follow the accompanying product-use instruction. Licensed and reliable dealers will only carry those products that meet standards set and enforced by the government. Do not use illegal explosives. Do not alter any firework device. Do not make your own fireworks.

Do not use malfunctioning items or pick up "dud" ones. Never attempt to re-light, alter or fix any "dud" firework item. If a firework item fails to function when ignited, let it stand for at least five minutes, then immerse it in water. Dispose of the item properly. The item failed to function for some reason, so if you attempt to light it in a manner not intended, you compound the problem and create a dangerous situation.

No amount of fun and revelry is worth a limb - much more a life. Any injury only brings the New Year on a bad start.

AWAY CLEAR FIREWORK FIREWORKS ITEM ITEMS LIGHT LIGHTING NEVER NEW YEAR USE
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