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Larry Blustein

Larry Blustein

Deadly Fireworks

By Larry Blustein

The Fourth Of July Holiday Can Have Negative Results

When Calvin Rohr was a youngster growing up in New York, the Fourth of July was all about food, fun and fireworks.

Like any youngster, getting the chance to see the bright colors and loud noises after a long day of eating, playing and just enjoying the holiday, is what it’s all about.

But all that fun came to a crashing end – when he watched – from two feet away – his best friend, Mike, who’s life changed in an instant.

“We were 12 and thought, like most boys who were ready to head into their teens, that we knew it all, and what happened in that split second, changed our lives forever,” Rohr explained. “There is not a day or second that I do not think about that moment.”

As parents and other adults were watching the aerial display from professional fireworks shows going off in the area, Calvin and Mike had purchased an “M80” and “Cherry Bomb” from older kids.

“We thought that we would be the big guys in the neighborhood – and that gamble didn’t pay off,” Rohr said.

As Mike held the “Cherry Bomb” in his right hand, Calvin lit the fuse, which was shorter than usual. As the flame hit the fuse, it immediately went off, sending debris and flames into Mike’s face and on both boys’ hands. The painful result was Mike lost his eyesight in one eye and lost his right hand. Calvin lost three fingers on his right hand and his left thumb, while suffering burns on his arms.

Those alarming results are not new – and they repeat themselves every year – and the stories become more tragic.

As we set out this Thursday to enjoy the holiday, there is a reality that someone you know will be touched by a tragedy, but there are things that you can do to guard against this from happening.

While you are enjoying your grilling, family time, and fireworks, take time to remind your kids what this holiday is about.  The lighting and display of fireworks came with a price to many men and women sacrificing for their kids and future generations. Use the fireworks display as a teaching tool. Here are things that everyone should know:
Fireworks packaged in brown paper are made for professional displays – avoid buying.
Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities, especially with sparklers.
Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire and to douse used fireworks before discarding in trash.
Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
Never try to re-light or pickup fireworks that have not ignited fully.

Never place a part of your body directly over a firework device when lighting.
Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
If you or anyone is injured by fireworks, while waiting for professional help, here are a few things to have on hand:

Sterile Saline Solution is great for cleaning eyes and can also be used to clean debris out of wounds on the rest of your body.

Cling Wrap or similar can be used to protect burns while you transport a person to the ER or wait for an ambulance.

Second Skin Moist Burn pads are a good way to protect and cool minor burns.

Aloe Vera gel can help treat and "cool" burns in the days following the accident.

Pain relievers expire, so check the dates and make sure you have some that are up to date. Burns hurt!

Blunt tip scissors are handy for cutting clothing off injured areas without stabbing yourself or the victim.

In the end, all we can say is have a Happy & Safe Fourth of July.

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