Dec 31, 2012 7:58 PM by Erin Steuber

Demonstrating the Power of Fireworks

If you're lighting fireworks tonight, there's a right way and a wrong way. Last year, more than 8,000 people hurt themselves shooting fireworks. More than half of the injuries were burns. KATC's Erin Steuber teams up with the Lafayette Fire Department to show us how quickly, and badly, you can injure yourself, if fireworks aren't fired off properly.

Captain Alton Trahan with the Lafayette Fire Department shows us how powerful fireworks are. We placed one firecracker in a watermelon to demonstrate how much damage could be done if it went off in your hand. The result would be devastating. He says the safest thing to do is always light them on the ground and step back at least 10 feet.

"Read the directions, understand it, make sure you have all your safety things in place, your water, your fire extinguisher and that the areas clear as well," said Trahan.

Last year, almost half of firework injuries were to children under 15. Trahan says when you're dealing with fire, always supervise children.

"The flame at the tip it's pretty hot, the sparks are flying off of it, and if it's pointed towards you, or if it's too close to your sleeve, it can catch it on fire," said Trahan.

While parents buy sparklers for their children thinking they're safe, most fireworks, even sparklers, burn at an excess of 15,000 degrees. To demonstrate just how fast a shirt could catch fire I placed a sparkler next to a cotton shirt. Within about 20 seconds, a significant hole is burned through the front, and back, of the shirt.

"Our only hope is that they do it in a careful way, no injuries, or no fires started," said Trahan. "You know they're very fun and exciting to see but you have to be very careful."

Just a reminder it is illegal to set fireworks off in Lafayette city limits. If you are in unincorporated areas, by law, you can only set them off before 1 A.M. for New Year's.



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