People caught up in the patriotic fun of a July 4th BBQ bash tend to do some crazy things. You see the headlines every year: fingers blown off, burns suffered, fires started. People forget that they are playing with fire … literally. It’s best to leave the fireworks up to the pyrotechnic experts.
In 2018, there were more than 9000 firework related injuries, according to a Consumer Product Safety Commission report. That’s down from more than 12,000 in 2017. And, while many of them resulted in minor burns or cuts, 13 people died as a result of firework accidents.
Almost half of the fireworks-related emergency department visits were for individuals younger than 20, according to the CPSC report.
Myth: Sparklers are safe
Between June 22–July 22 of last year, an estimated 500 visits to the emergency room visits were due to sparklers. Sparklers burn at around 2,000 degrees and that they can quickly ignite clothing, according to the National Safety Council.
One such case involved a 22-year-old male who lit a sparkler he was holding in his pants. When it went off it burned his hand and penis.
Smoke bombs can also cause injuries; an eight-year-old girl sustained burns after one went off in her hand.
Leave it to the professionals.
But, if you don’t, follow these rules so you don’t lose a finger, or an eye, or worse.
- Don’t hold a firework in your hand as you are trying to light it, and don’t hold a firework that is already lit in your hand.
- Wear ear and eye protection, such as earplugs and eyewear, and stay a safe distance from the firework.
- Don’t allow children or adolescents to ignite fireworks, that includes sparklers and firecrackers.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire, and soak used fireworks before disposal.
- Do not point fireworks at other people or buildings before lighting them.
- If a firework malfunctions, don’t grab it to or try to relight it. Soak it with water and throw it away.
- Do not go near fireworks while intoxicated.
In case of an emergency
- If a particle gets into your eye, do not touch or rub it. Use lukewarm water to rinse it.
- If a sharp object enters your eye, do not pull it out. Put a loose bandage over the eye, but do not apply pressure. Go to an ER immediately.
- If you suffer a burn, do not apply an ointment or put butter or ice on the wound. Cover it and if necessary seek medical attention.
Natasha Bright is a contributing writer for UMiami Health News.