A Word of Caution

Father and Son holding FireworksNext Monday marks the 240th birthday of our nation and the historic signing of the Declaration of Independence.  We are a society that has grown from a fledgling colony of farmers and shipbuilders, struggling under the heavy-hand of the British monarchy, into one of the richest and arguably the most powerful sovereign country in the world today.

As our independence is celebrated across the nation on the Fourth of July, many of us will wave and cheer during local parades and attend parties and picnics, indulging in fatty foods and alcohol.  And most will be privy to some degree of pyrotechnics display coordinated to a predictable list of patriotic tunes, all in the name of freedom and summer fun.  Americans do love their fireworks.

In fact, we annually spend almost three quarters of a billion dollars on legal and illegal amateur fireworks.  From fanciful fountains to mortars to sparklers to firecrackers, they are readily available throughout the states, and they all must be respected.

Fireworks are made of very flammable and explosive materials that are designed to entertain spectators, to strike awe with beautiful color and sometimes they are meant to simply make a loud bang.  Fireworks can be dangerous, even deadly.

Fireworks accidents seriously injure approximately 9,300 Americans every year due to careless and inappropriate operation.  Nearly 45% of those horrific injuries are incurred by children under the age of 14.  The statistics are frustrating and indicate a serious lack of judgment and respect by people of all ages, most importantly parents who allow their kids to handle such dangerous effects.

Last year, a celebrity’s life was severely affected by a fireworks accident.  The NFL’s Jason Pierre-Paul, star defensive end of the New York Giants, suffered a grotesque injury when a firework detonated in his right hand.  His hand and fingers were badly burnt and mangled and one finger had to be completely amputated within days of the accident.

After months of rehabilitation, Jason was luckily able to return the football field where he continues to play for the Giants.  However, the condition of his hand forces him to play with the appendage heavily bandaged.  He will never again have the dexterity and ability he once had prior to the accident.

Injuries like Jason Pierre-Paul’s happen every year in the United States during a time of celebration when we give thought to our forefathers and salute our freedoms as Americans.  But we must respect the inherent dangers that some of those freedoms command, if not for ourselves, for our children.  Petersen International wishes you a happy and safe Fourth of July.