The summer is finally here and of course that includes Fourth of July celebrations with hot dogs and hamburgers, and of course fireworks. And although watching public fireworks displays is the safest way to enjoy the colorful pyrotechnics, there are many who will stay at home and shoot off their fireworks that they have purchased.
Burns are one of the most common injuries treated in emergency departments and occur to all parts of the body except the eyes, where contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eyes occur more frequently.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one-third of fireworks-related deaths involved illegal fireworks sold to consumers. Firecrackers, sparklers, and rockets were associated with the most injuries treated in emergency departments. Approximately 90 percent of emergency room visits are attributed to legal fireworks. Also, there are approximately 50,000 calls to fire departments with fireworks-related fires.
If you choose to enjoy your own fireworks display, here are some easy tips to follow:
● Never let children play with fireworks
● Buy and use only legal fireworks (local ordinances and state laws vary so research what is legal before you buy/use fireworks)
● Follow all instructions and safety guidelines
● Never place fireworks near an open fire or the grill
● Wear protective clothing and glasses
● Never re-light a “dud”
● Always have a water hose or extinguisher nearby
● Don’t hold fireworks in your hands
● Always use outside and point away from homes, people and pets
While these are general safety guideline you should always contact your local authorities for further information.
Enjoy your summer and have a happy Fourth of July!
Andrew Lim, MD, is the medical director of the Bristol Hospital Emergency Center. He also is a member of the medical staff of U.S. Acute Care Solutions, the physician medical group of the Bristol Hospital Emergency Center. For more information, please visit www.bristolhospital.org