Five Fireworks Safety Tips You Need to Know to Avoid the ER this Fourth of July

It’s all fun with fireworks til someone gets burned

ROCKWALL,TX. (June 25, 2015) Every year around the Fourth of July, hospitals see an uptick of emergency patients due to fireworks-related injuries. What is supposed to be a fun-filled celebration can quickly turn into an unplanned visit to your local ER.  Children have the greatest risk of injury and more than half of fireworks injuries happen to people younger than 20 years of age. The best way to avoid fireworks-related injuries is to leave the patriotic displays to the professionals, but if you plan on putting on your own show, there are some important safety tips you should remember.

Carefully read all instructions before igniting the fireworks.

Instructions are provided for a reason; they are there to help you avoid injury and to correctly prepare you for the task you are about to perform. Always remember to thoroughly read the instructions on every pack of fireworks you plan to ignite. Not all fireworks operate the same way, so it is important to know how they work before putting yourself and those around you at risk.

Wear safety glasses when handling fireworks.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), eye injuries account for 16 percent of fireworks-related injuries.  The most common type of fireworks-related eye injuries are scratches on the cornea, which are usually caused by flying debris from the fireworks explosions.

Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.

People often believe that sparklers are a safer alternative to fireworks, but that is simply a common misconception. Sparklers account for 31 percent of fireworks-related injuries, making them the fireworks type that causes the most harm. In 2013, sparklers sent 2,300 people to the ER. A great alternative to sparklers are glow sticks.

Properly dispose of used fireworks.

Once fireworks have been used, it is extremely important to dispose of them properly. Completely soak the used fireworks in a large bucket and let them soak for at least 20 minutes before throwing them away. Remember to never place fireworks in a recycling bin due to the harsh chemicals that may contaminate other materials in the bin.

Never relight a dud.

Do not assume the fireworks did not ignite because of a personal error and try to light them again. Allow at least five minutes to pass before attempting to dispose of them. There is a chance the fireworks could be damaged, causing a delay in explosion, and you don’t want to be caught with that “hot potato.”

If you or someone you know is injured by fireworks call 9-1-1 or visit the closest ER.

Submitted by Jackie Clifton, RN, Trauma/Emergency Department Clinical Coordinator at Lake Pointe Medical Center

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