Though fireworks can be exciting, festive and fun, HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals want to remind community members that fireworks can also be very dangerous.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports on average, 180 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.
HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals’ trauma coordinator, Regi Geissler says the majority of injuries occur to the hands, fingers and eyes. “If you do have an eye injury, don’t rub it or touch it in any way because that may cause more damage,” she said.
Safety officials recommend fireworks be left to experts specially trained and certified in pyrotechnics. However, if you do decide to use fireworks, be sure to practice the following Top 10 Fireworks Safety Tips:
- Know the law. Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
- Children should never play with fireworks. Firecrackers, rockets and sparklers can be extremely dangerous if not used properly. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metal. If you give sparklers to kids, make sure they keep them outside and away from their faces, clothing and hair.
- Store properly and buy legally. Buy only legal fireworks and store them in a cool, dry place. Remember: fireworks in brown paper packaging are intended for professional displays only, not home use.
- Don’t DIY. Never try to make your own fireworks.
- Be prepared. Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and a hose nearby.
- Keep a distance. Steer clear of others and never throw or point fireworks at someone.
- Take precautions. Don’t hold fireworks in your hand or have any of your body parts over them while lighting. Wear eye protection, and do not carry fireworks in your pocket. Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Know your surroundings. Point fireworks away from homes, and keep them away from bushes, leaves and other flammable sources.
- Quality, not quantity. Light one firework at a time.
- Make sure the fire is out. Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can. Also, do not discard any fireworks, including used ones, in a fire pit.
If you or someone you know is injured by a firework and in need of emergency care, call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room. HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals’ emergency departments are open 24/7.
For more information about fireworks safety, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.