Independence Day is right around the corner and the Fourth of July holiday is a peak time for the use of fireworks. Lighting fireworks and enjoying the beautiful array of colors they produce is a summer tradition in many communities. From local festivals to backyard barbecues, fireworks are a popular way to celebrate with loved ones. If groups like the National Fire Protection Association had a say, lighting fireworks and similar products would be limited to trained professionals. This is in response to the large number of fireworks-related injuries and fatalities that occur every year among individuals.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, eight people died as the result of fireworks injuries in 2013. That same year, 11,700 men, women, and children received treatment at a local emergency department for burns and other injuries due to fireworks. Approximately 60 percent of those treated were attempting to ignite homemade, professional-grade, or other types of illegal fireworks. The remaining 40 percent were injured while using legal products that should not have been as powerful.
Fireworks are also responsible for thousands of dollars in structural damage every year. The National Fire Protection Association reports that the improper use of fireworks and related products starts approximately 1,200 house fires every year. The National Safety Council also urges people to limit their viewing of fireworks to professional displays. Although fireworks products are legal in many states, that doesn’t guarantee their safety. If you do choose to use them, be certain to follow these safety tips:
- Don’t permit young children to handle fireworks at all
- Older children with mature judgment should only use fireworks under close adult supervision
- Fill a bucket full of cold water and keep it nearby in case you need to extinguish any flames
- If you don’t use some of the fireworks, allow them to soak in cold water for a few hours before you discard them
- Don’t light any fireworks indoors
- Anyone who handles fireworks should wear protective eyewear
- If a firework won’t light after one try due to a malfunction, don’t attempt to light it again
- Don’t place explosive devices in a container before lighting them
- Make sure you’re several hundred yards away from houses, people, and anything that could be flammable
- Don’t attempt to light more than one device at a time
Fireworks aren’t the only type of explosive product that can cause injuries. Be sure to follow the same safety rules with these products as well:
- Bottle rockets: These are small devices shaped like a rocket that have a fuse on the end. You place a bottle rocket in a bottle, ignite the fuse, and it goes flying. Bottle rockets are popular among teenagers and are unfortunately associated with serious eye, chest, and head injuries.
- Firecrackers: Firecrackers are linked together by one long fuse. When you light one end, they go off one after the other and can be extremely loud. Burns are the most common injury from the misuse of firecrackers.
- Roman candles: The proper way to handle this product is to secure the Roman candle to a stand, however, it is common to see users holding the Roman candle in their hand while the tube ejects multiple explosive shells after it has been ignited. Severe injuries can be caused by misusing this device or if it accidentally jams. Roman candle burns can be quite severe.
- Sparklers: Sparklers are popular among younger children because of their simplicity. All children must do is hold and wave a stick that has been ignited. However, sparklers can reach temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees and burn a child’s skin if he or she drops them.
M-Class fireworks are illegal, but that doesn’t stop some people from using them. The force can be strong enough to rattle the windows of homes and businesses for blocks and cause severe injuries to numerous people.
Emergency Care When You Need It Most
If you or a family member is injured by fireworks or a similar product this summer, it’s nice to know that you can receive immediate treatment at Bon Secours. When you’re hurt, sick, and need help fast, Bon Secours Emergency Care is there for you. We are proud to deliver the very best in quality emergency care at our hospitals, our Harbour View 24/7 Emergency Department or at Westchester Emergency Center’s full-service emergency department. Patients checking in at any of our emergency departments will be quickly seen by a member of our clinical care team, who can assess their condition and begin to provide the care they need. A number of our emergency care facilities are ranked among the top five percent in the nation according to a recent study released by Healthgrades, the leading independent health care ratings organization. When time is of the essence, act fast and access Bon Secours’ Emergency Care.