Playing with fire ... works
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- The horror stories are everywhere. From kids accidentally burning down their houses to people inadvertently blowing off their own limbs, these freaky stories have one thing in common - they began with fireworks.
It's almost Independence Day, which, for most people, means time away from work and testing the stomach's limits to retain as many grilled hotdogs and hamburgers as physically possible. It's also an age-old tradition to launch fireworks, replicating soldiers who recklessly fired weapons during celebrations that marked the conclusion of war and America's birthday, respectively.
While on Misawa Air Base, the rules are clear-cut: Fireworks are prohibited. Don't use them or bring them on base, and be sure none are unintentionally brought on base.
For those celebrating off-base, Misawa city officials ask that those who plan on using fireworks use extreme caution and keep others in mind.
"Common sense prevails in most situations, and using it while operating fireworks is no exception," said Tech. Sgt. Kevin Dotson, 35th Fighter Wing ground safety. "Summer weekends and barbecues often go hand-in-hand with alcohol consumption, and if you're going to drink, don't play with fire."
Regardless of what activities you plan to take part in over the extended weekend, put safety at the forefront and don't be the next statistic.
Four hundred Americans lose their eyesight and more than 20,000 fires break out every year because of firework misuse, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Everyone wants to enjoy a safe weekend - including the medical emergency folks here.
To avoid the most common injuries -- burns and lacerations to the hands, face and head - take precaution. Just because you don't have the biggest or loudest fireworks doesn't mean there's no danger. The CPSC says About 40 percent of the injuries that occur during the 30 days surrounding the Fourth of July are related to the "harmless" kinds of fireworks -- firecrackers, bottle rockets, and sparklers.
Enjoy your freedom at home, not the hospital.