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Local Resident And Safety Officials Warn Against Use Of Illegal Fireworks

4:38 PM, Jun 29, 2010   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- "I thought I was taking all of the precautions," says Jason Henderson.

The 23-year-old doesn't need to see a powerful display of what can go wrong when fireworks aren't used in the right way.  He lives with that lesson every day.

"You can get a certain comfort, after being around the chemicals.  And you lose kinda the respect, and it can get you in a lot of trouble," Henderson says.

On July 19, 2007, he was mixing chemicals trying to make an illegal M-80 device.

The force of the blast was similar to ones in the CPSC demonstration on the National Mall. 

Jason lost both of his hands, an eye and was left with a hole in his left leg.

He says, "I just heard the explosion, and I knew something terrible had happened."

Today, the West Virginia resident helped government agencies bring home a message about safety first.  He's part of a PSA to spread the word.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Inez Tenenbaum says, "We just want people to use common sense, and use legal fireworks.  And, never ever buy illegal fireworks or use professional fireworks on your own."

Even legal fireworks can take off in the wrong hands.

Sparklers are pretty popular consumer fireworks.  But they are also the second leading cause of injuries.  But even after it's extinguished, it can still cause significant burns.

"Everyday we have 200 injuries in the month surrounding the Fourth of July from fireworks.  We want people to know that you cannot use fireworks irresponsibly or you will pay the consequences," says CPSC Chairman Tenenbaum. 

Jason hopes no one will suffer the consequences like he does, again.

He says, "You don't have to make the mistake to learn.  I've already made it."

Today the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also announced a fireworks recall

The Super Lightning Rocket Fireworks can cause an unexpected explosion because they contain too much pyrotechnic power inside, posing a risk of burns and bodily harm. 

The product violates the federal regulatory standard.  The 4,700 stick-type rockets are wrapped in black paper with a background of the solar system and the writing "Super Rocket," in assorted colors. 

They were sold in packs of four.  The item number GCR3150 is printed on the front of the package and the rocket engine. 

The CPSC warns consumers should stop using the recalled fireworks and contact Bit Fireworks for instructions on how to receive a full refund. 

You can call the company toll-free at 866-514-6225 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or go to their website, www.bigfireworks.com.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco wants you to know that M-80s, M-1000s or Cherry Bombs are not fireworks but illegal explosives.

If you know anyone who makes or sells them, call 1-888-ATF-BOMB.

The CPSC says consumers who purchase legal fireworks should take the following safety steps.

Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.

Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

Avoid making fireworks that come in brown paper packaging, as this can often be a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.

Adults should always supervise fireworks activities.  Parents often don't realize that there are many injuries from sparklers to children under five.  Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, hot enough to melt some metals.

Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.  Move back to a safe distance immediately after lighting.

Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.

Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.

Light one item at a time then move back quickly.

Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

After fireworks fully complete their functioning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent a trash fire.

 

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