Staying Safe Around Sparklers and Sky Lanterns
We’re but a few days removed from Independence Day, and firework usage will thus increase dramatically in the next couple of days in California and the rest of the country. And although the threat of a wildfire always exist around areas susceptible to such tragic circumstances, persons lighting off fireworks also have to be cognizant of the more obvious and immediate injury hazard posed by even seemingly innocent products.
In Michigan, where larger fireworks have been legal among the general population for about a year and a half now, the State Fire Marshal has put together a series of important safety tips that Californians should be willing to consider as well. Consumers can begin by recognizing the importance of sparkler safety.
The agency describes how the temperature at which a sparkler can burn (as much as 2,000 degrees) could potentially cause metal to melt. The Department of Public Safety of Kalamazoo pegs the temperature at closer to 1,200 degrees, but either way, the potential for a child to sustain a burn is great.
To protect your children from such an occurrence, tell them that they are to be particularly careful when using these fireworks, if they’re to use them at all. Running with such a firework is unacceptable, as is waving the object around. Tell your child to dispose of the sparkler the moment the fire goes out. Have a water bucket on hand for such disposal. Touching the item even after the flame is out can still prompt a burn.
In addition to your kids, you yourself have to be careful with sparklers as well. Have only one lit at once, and don’t sit or let a child perch on your lap or in your arms while you light the sparkler. Finally, use common sense and absolutely do not throw the object.
One other product that has grown in popularity in recent years is the sky lantern. These are basically small garments that float into the air when a central fuel source is lit and catches fire. Unfortunately, you’re essentially casting aloft an open flame, and the winds could take the product someplace susceptible to a blaze.
You might not be able to control the winds, but you can control the circumstances around your lighting area. If the wind rises above more than even five miles per hour, refrain from lighting this product. You should also be a sufficient distance away from airports or wildfire-prone areas so that an errant sky lantern doesn’t lead to a tragedy.
To prevent a more local tragedy, supervise children at all times when such objects are in play and have a fire extinguisher handy for if a blaze gets out of control. And when you get ready to light, make sure that buildings (including houses and apartments) and trees aren’t nearby.