Fireworks Safety

By June 29, 2023Health Tips

As we approach the Independence Day holiday, many of you may be planning fireworks as part of your celebration. While fireworks can bring excitement and beauty to celebrations, they can also pose significant risks if not handled properly. Today, we’ll talk about how to stay safe while enjoying the holiday.

Why is this important?

Fireworks SafetyIn 2017, US hospital emergency rooms saw an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks-related injuries. Approximately 40% of those injured are children 14 years old or younger. Most commonly, injuries from fireworks affect the hands (31%), face (22%), and eyes (14%). Injuries are more frequent and more severe among persons who are active participants than among bystanders.

Fireworks can also cause property damage. Fireworks cause an estimated 18,500 reported fires in the US each year.
Even fireworks that people typically think of as safe may not be as safe as you imagine.
What should you do to stay safe?
Although fireworks-related injuries are unfortunately all too common, many of these injuries can be prevented by following some simple guidelines. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
  • Attend Public Fireworks Displays: The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend professional public displays. These displays are conducted by experts and adhere to strict safety standards, minimizing the risks associated with fireworks.
  • Leave It to the Professionals: Do not attempt to create homemade fireworks or alter them in any way, as this can lead to unpredictable and dangerous outcomes. Do not use illegal fireworks.
  • If you do decide to use legal fireworks at home, make sure to create a safe environment.

    • Keep spectators at a safe distance, preferably behind a barrier, and designate a responsible adult to handle the fireworks.
    • Never use or let others use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs!
    • Never aim or throw fireworks at people, animals, or buildings.
    • Never set off fireworks indoors or in closed containers.
    • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
    • Only light one at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.
    • Always have a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or spent sparklers, or to use in case of fire.
  • Sparkler Safety: Sparklers may seem harmless, but they can reach temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,093 degrees Celsius). Keep sparklers away from young children, ensure older children are supervised while using them, and use that bucket of water to extinguish them. Sparklers alone account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Consider using safer alternatives, especially for younger children, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers, or colored streamers.
  • Protect Your Hearing: Hearing loss from loud noise is permanent and builds over time with every loud noise exposure. Most people don’t know their hearing is damaged until it’s too late. You and your entire family should wear earplugs or other hearing protection when setting off fireworks at home. Enjoy the fireworks from a safe distance to lessen the noise exposure.
  • Be Prepared: Accidents can still happen, despite taking precautions. Have a first aid kit readily available and know how to respond to minor burns and injuries. If a burn appears severe or a more serious injury occurs, seek immediate medical attention or call 911 for true emergencies.
Remember, fireworks safety is a shared responsibility, and by following these guidelines, you can help protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community. I encourage you to share this information with your family and friends, as raising awareness is crucial in preventing fireworks-related injuries.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our doctors. Our team is here to support your health and well-being. Wishing you a safe and joyful Independence Day!
Dr. Anita Bennett MD – Health Tip Content Editor

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