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Untitled designWhen I was a First Lieutenant, I had the privilege of being platoon leader for eight Ah64 Apache Helicopters. I had only been stationed at Fort Hood for about a month when our sister platoon had an aircraft fire with Lieutenant Vickery. In less than eight minutes, the aircraft burned to the ground. Why? The combination of aviation fuel and the fact that the aircraft was made with a significant amount of magnesium made it highly flammable. Thank goodness both pilots lived, but the power of burning magnesium has never left me.

As we prepare for the 4th of July this year, think about those little sparklers that we love to give to our young kids. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Safety Council. That’s hot enough to melt gold. Our eyes and skin do not stand a chance against them. Fireworks get just as hot, and to make them more dangerous, they’ve been engineered to move when ignited. This can spell danger for anyone who isn’t professionally trained to handle them.

Additionally, here are a few statistics on fireworks-related injuries:

  • Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year
  • In 2017, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated approximately 12,900 people for injuries related to fireworks
  • Children under the age of 15 accounted for 36% of the fireworks injuries in 2017

KidsHealth® by The Nemours Foundation urges that if a child is burned by fireworks, immediately remove all clothing from the burned area and take him or her to a doctor right away. If an eye injury occurs, avoid touching, rubbing and/or flushing the eye. Cut out the bottom of a paper cup, place it around the eye, and seek medical help immediately.

Remember that there are alternatives to fireworks and sparklers, such as glow sticks and pen lights, which can be just as much fun in the dark for little ones. Stay safe, and enjoy celebrating our Independence Day!

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