Tips for staying safe this Independence Day

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Fireworks season is already here and one local fire department is reminding everyone how to enjoy fireworks while staying safe.

Michael Albo is the fire marshal for the Southfield Fire Department and he knows a lot about fireworks. 

"We know people are going to use them," Albo said. "We want to make sure they use them in the safest way possible."

Kids and fireworks can be a dangerous mix and should only be used under adult supervision. Albo said there's no exception to that.

Fireworks poppers, for example, are popular and are safe for young kids, but when it comes to sparklers, they might not be the safest choice. 

A test dummy was used to show the potential danger and got burned. In real life, the danger could be worse.

"Someone could get a second-degree burn from that and possibly lose a finger," Albo said. 

During another demonstration, Local 4 photojournalist Matthew Wilson was standing a safe distance away, but still was grazed by a firework.

"The fireworks went low and spun out and hit my leg," Wilson said. "I was not expecting that today."

He's not injured, but is a reminder how quickly someone could get hurt, even when practicing safely.

"There's 12,000, give or take, fireworks-related injuries annually," Albo said. 

Close to two-thirds of those injuries happen within a month of Independence Day and children under the age of 15 accounted for more than 25 percent of injuries. 

The best fireworks for children are the fireworks that don't fly or explode. These include fountains, sparklers, wheels, smoke, strobes, snakes and ground spinners.

Albo recommends not purchasing metal sparklers because the metal can heat up quickly and burn users.

About the Authors: