You’ve probably seen a few fireworks tents popping up around the metro as sales begin next week. With that comes the responsibility of using them safely.
A victim of a fireworks accident shows exactly what could happen if you're not careful. For 20-year-old Josh Berger, just walking up the stairs used to be a difficult task. “I was in the hospital and rehab for a total of 49 days before I was able to come home.”
It was a 4th of July accident that happened when he was 13 years old. “I was over at neighbors and our friends’ pool party for the 4th of July and someone decided they would light off his commercial grade artillery shells and it went up and it didn't detonate, so it arched up over the house and it exploded.”
Berger’s left hip was hit, sending him to the hospital with serious injuries. Now, eight years later, scars on his body are a constant reminder. “It kind of brings it all real, what I really went through."
Though Berger’s story is rare, the Omaha Fire Department is reminding everyone to think about safety as we near the July 4th holiday. “Now that it's legal in the city you've got a lot more opportunity to purchase and so potentially there is a lot more exposure for fireworks to be out,” said the OFD’s Tim McCaw.
He says our skin is similar to that of an orange skin. A demonstration showed what could happen if a firecracker goes off in your hand. But it’s the little ones, like sparklers, that cause the most injuries.
Ask Berger and he says he's living proof that you can never be too safe. “You just gotta be aware of what you're lighting off and everything. Be very careful, anything as small as a Black Cat can do some damage to you.”
McCaw says you should always pour water on fireworks when you're finished. Too often firefighters respond to fires several hours after the fact because fireworks weren’t completely done burning.
Click here for fireworks safety tips.