BROWNSVILLE - Cameron County officials are urging residents to be careful when using fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday.
"Residents should take precautions by supervising their children and by having easy access to water source when setting off fireworks," said Emergency Management Coordinator Humberto Barrera. "We want people to enjoy their celebrations safely and responsibly."
Officials issued the following tips to staying safe when handling fireworks:
- Use fireworks outdoors only.
- Remember what fireworks are: explosive devices. Even the smallest fireworks can cause severe burns.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. Are you standing near hay, gasoline or other flammable materials? Are you fireworks landing near people, animals, homes, automobiles or flammable materials?
- Alcohol and fireworks don't mix. You need your best judgment to keep you and your family safe around fireworks.
- Leave fireworks to adults. Children should never handle fireworks, especially without adult supervision.
- Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
- Avoid aerial fireworks (bottle rockets, roman candles) and large fireworks (M-80). These items pack a dangerous explosive punch and are a major source of fires and injuries.
- Keep a hose or bucket of water handy at all times. Pour water on used fireworks and keep the hose or bucket ready in case of fire.
- Do not hold fireworks while lighting. Place the fireworks on a hard, flat surface.
- Never pick up or try to re-light used ("dud") fireworks. If the firework fails to light, pour water on it and keep away for several minutes.
In 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission revealed that an estimated 9,600 hospital emergency room treated firework-related injuries and four fire-work related deaths were reported.