Officials urge fire safety on holiday

July 2, 2009 3:36:02 PM PDT
Emergency room workers brace themselves for fireworks-related visits every year around July 4th.Children are more often the victims of these types of accidents.

On Thursday, the Chicago Fire Department and Children's Memorial Hospital teamed up to teach parents how to keep their kids safe.

Last year there were seven fire works related deaths in the U.S. The fireworks can also cause devastating injuries.

While big explosives a lot of attention, officials warned the public about sparklers on Thursday.

The Fourth of July will bring incredible fireworks displays.

Professionals know the dangers and precautions needed to handle such devices.

A sparkler gets over 1000 degrees. To put that in perspective your oven is typically between 300 and 400 degrees.

"Sparklers while they seem harmless cause the highest number of injures. Sparklers burn at a temperature of 1800 degrees farenheit," said Asst. Deputy Fire Cmsr. Jose Santiago Chicago Fire Department.

"Think of it. You instruct your child to stay away from an oven because it's set at 350 because it's too hot but you hand over a sparkler that can burn at over five times the temperature of the oven," said Chief Michael Figolah, Illinois Fire Safety Alliance.

Fire and health officials warn about the dangers of sparklers. They're illegal in Chicago. And while the statistics are improving, last year 30 Illinoisans suffered sparkler injuries bad enough for the emergency room.

To illustrate the danger, officials demonstrated how a sparkler could brush against a cotton shirt, something a child might be wearing in the summer. Within second the flames climb up the mannequin.

Fire officials say the fire would grow even faster if the subject got scared and ran, instead of 'stop, drop and roll.'

In 30 seconds, the flames travel to the face.

"If they decide to run and not stop drop and roll the fire will advance a lot quicker than what you're just seen," said Figolah.

"This can clearly be critical process when you have burn, extensive fluid losses, high possibility of infection. These are significant burns," said Dr. Elizabeth Powell, Childrens Memorial Hospital.

Last year, Children's Memorial had one sparkler injury. Their numbers in injuries have gone down dramatically since Chicago made sparklers illegal two years ago. But officials warn parents to stay vigilant.


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