In the month around the July 4th holiday, approximately 280 people in the U.S. go to emergency rooms every day with fireworks-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Though fireworks can be exciting, festive and fun – they can also be very dangerous. HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital recommends the following tips and reminders to ensure a safe experience:
- Children should never play with fireworks. Firecrackers, rockets and sparklers can be extremely dangerous if not used properly. If you give sparklers to kids, make sure to keep them outside and away from faces, clothing and hair. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
- Buy legally and store safely. Observe local laws and make sure fireworks are legal in your area. Store in a cool, dry place and keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
- Don’t DIY. Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Be prepared. Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and hose nearby.
- Keep a distance. Steer clear of others and never throw or point fireworks at someone. Light fireworks then move back quickly.
- Take precautions. Don’t hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting. Wear some sort of eye protection and avoid carrying fireworks in your pocket. Never light fireworks in a glass or metal container.
- Know your surroundings. Point fireworks away from homes. Keep away from brushes, leaves and other flammable substances.
- Quality, not quantity. Light one firework at a time and never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
- Make sure the fire is out and dispose of properly. Don’t allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event as they may still be hot. After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Better yet, leave fireworks to the experts. This is the recommended course of action by the National Safety Council.
If an adult or child is injured by fireworks, immediately call your doctor or go to the hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don’t touch or rub it, as this may cause more damage. If it’s a burn, remove clothing from the burned area and run cool, not cold, water over the burn and then call your doctor immediately.