Stay safe this Fourth of July


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Fourth of July holiday is less than two weeks away, but before you gear up to set fireworks off experts have some advice.

It’s almost that time of year again when fireworks can be seen in skies across KELOLAND.

Kevin Lorenzen, owner of Pyro City has been in the fireworks business his entire adult life, and he’s looking forward to this year’s celebration.

“I love this time of year. It’s so much fun and the weather is great and we all need a good form of fun. And the Fourth of July is right upon us.” Kevin Lorenzen said.

But with all the excitement comes some safety advice too.

“The consumer products safety commission puts out a report every year on firework injuries. And you know, there’s about 10,000 firework injuries a year,” Dr. Andrew Ollerton said.

Dr. Andrew Ollerton, a cornea and refractive surgeon says eye injuries make up about 19 percent of them.

“Usually it’s, you know, some kind of either malfunction with the firework or just you know that the people were too close or there was some instability issue or they kind of had tip over issues with the firework,” Ollerton says.

He says permanent damage like a chemical or thermal burn can be caused to the eye, and recommends avoiding the use of any glass bottles to shoot your fireworks off in.

“A lot of times, unfortunately, these… these are really severe injuries and a lot of times the vision doesn’t, you know, the vision doesn’t improve that much, you know, and sometimes the eye has to be totally removed,” Ollerton said.

Experts say when it comes to firework safety and protecting your eyes, one of the first steps is picking up a pair of glasses.

In addition to protective eyewear, Lorenzen says make sure to keep your distance from any fireworks being lit.

“The only person that should be close to the items being indicted is a person lighting it. Everybody else back 125 feet for safety reasons, but also for viewing reasons,” Lorenzen said.

And when the holiday celebration comes to an end, he says make sure to water down any remains of fireworks before cleaning up.

Ollerton adds that if you or someone you’re celebrating with does mildly injure an eye such as smoke irritation, it’s okay to use artificial tears as long as no objects are in the eye.

For any serious eye injuries, he says go to the nearest emergency room.

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