FRANKFORT, Ky., June 23, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As Kentuckians plan their patriotic celebrations this summer, experts urge consumers to consider safety this Independence Day.
"Consumer fireworks and novelties are integral to any Fourth of July celebration, and Americans enjoy the tradition of lighting them to make the festivities brighter," says Tommy Glasgow, president of TNT® Fireworks East. TNT Fireworks is the largest distributor of consumer fireworks in the United States and has been in the business for more than 50 years. "As Kentuckians light up the night this Independence Day, TNT encourages firework safety for a safe and sane Fourth of July."
Nationally, fireworks consumption increased 635 percent between 1976 and 2008 (29.0 million pounds versus 213.2 million pounds respectively), while fireworks-related injuries decreased dramatically from 38.3 injuries to 3.3 injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks during that same time period, according to the most recent data available from the American Pyrotechnics Association.
John Conkling, a nationally renowned fireworks expert and spokesman for the American Pyrotechnics Association, attributes the steep decline in injuries over the years to the fireworks industry's consumer safety and education initiatives during the last three decades.
Despite the decline in injuries, however, Conkling says consumers should resolve to use only devices permitted by state law while adhering to safety warnings and instructions that appear on product packaging.
"For decades, consumer fireworks and novelties have enhanced countless celebrations. To continue the downward trend in fireworks-related injuries, though, consumers must prioritize safety and have a general understanding of how these devices function," Conkling says. "Following a few simple guidelines – such as only using consumer fireworks and novelties outdoors in clear areas away from buildings and dry grass and always keeping a bucket of water on hand for emergencies – will help people stay safe."
While consumers consider which products will add the most sparkle to their Fourth of July celebrations, Conkling recommends they check the credibility of the distributor to make sure its products are reliable and come from a credible source.
"Not all consumer fireworks and novelties are the same," Conkling says, "and consumers should purchase only legal products that are distributed by a trusted, established company, like TNT Fireworks, that puts people and safety above all else."
Here are a few consumer fireworks and novelties safety tips to consider this Fourth of July:
Once you've made your consumer fireworks and novelties purchase, keep them in a safe place... out of the reach of children at all times.
Young children should not light or handle consumer fireworks and novelties.
Use good common sense and always read and follow all warnings and instructions that appear on the packaging.
Alwayskeep a hose and a bucket of water nearby in case of emergencies. Used consumer fireworks and novelties should be soaked in a bucket of water prior to being discarded.
Use consumer fireworks and novelties outdoors, only in clear areas, away from houses, buildings, fences, dry grass, and trees. Your consumer firework display area should also be smooth, flat, level and swept clean of debris.
Never attempt to fix or relight a consumer firework or novelty – if it fails to light, do not relight it. Place it in a bucket of water and make sure it is fully soaked before discarding it.
Animals are sometimes frightened by consumer fireworks and novelties. To protect your "best friends," keep them indoors – away from the loud noise – and secure.
As with any purchase, check the credibility of the distributor to make sure their consumer fireworks and novelties are reliable, legal and come from a licensed source.
Remember – not all consumer fireworks and novelties are the same. Be sure to purchase products that are manufactured by a trusted, established company that puts safety first.
Do not smoke when handling any type of consumer fireworks and novelties.
Do not use any type consumer fireworks and novelties while under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
TNT consumer fireworks and novelties will be available through July 4 at numerous major retailers, as well as stand and tent sale locations throughout Kentucky. For more safety information, or to find a location where TNT products are sold in Kentucky, visit www.TNTFireworks.com.
 Consumption per million pounds
Consumer Fireworks and Novelties Safety Tips
- Adult supervision. Never allow children to light or handle them.
- Stay Alert. Never mix alcohol with consumer fireworks and novelties.
- Take Precautions. Always keep a hose and a bucket of water nearby in case of emergencies.
- Let Sleeping Consumer fireworks and novelties Lie. Don't try to relight consumer fireworks and novelties that don't ignite. Wait 15 - 20 minutes, then douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
ABOUT TNT FIREWORKS
TNT® Fireworks (TNT) is the nation's largest distributor of consumer fireworks and sparklers. For more than 50 years, TNT has set the benchmark for safety, customer satisfaction, innovation and quality in the fireworks industry. For more information about TNT Fireworks, visit www.tntfireworks.com.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN PYROTECHNICS ASSOCIATION
The APA is the leading trade association of the fireworks industry. The APA supports and promotes safety standards for all aspects of fireworks. The APA has diverse membership including regulated and licensed manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, importers and suppliers of fireworks. Additional information about the fireworks industry, facts & figures, history of fireworks, state laws, and safety tips can be found on APA's website at .
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