Fireworks safety and injury prevention
Updated July 4, 2015
While July 4th is always a time of fun, friends, and family, it is also a time of preventable fireworks-related injuries.
When my good friend began screaming that he could not see, I knew something was seriously wrong. A bottle rocket had just exploded in front of his face, causing superficial and partial thickness burns around his left eye. Fortunately, he had a normal return of vision.
According to a 2005 CDC study, more than 10,000 people are treated each year in U.S. emergency departments for firework-related injuries. Children suffer injuries at a disproportionate rate. As you certainly know, the busiest time of year for fireworks is mid-June through the July 4th weekend. EMS agencies and personnel should join the CDC and other injury prevention agencies to reduce firework-related injuries.
Share these tips with your community to reduce firework-related injuries:
- Follow all local ordinances regarding sales, purchasing, and use of fireworks.
- Only sober and competent adults should be handling and lighting fireworks.
- Follow fireworks guidelines for establishing a hot zone where only the adult lighting the fireworks is allowed.
- Wear hearing, eye, and hand protection when lighting fireworks to lessen risk of injury from noise, flames, or shrapnel.
- Never launch fireworks towards any person or animal.
- Position observers a safe distance that is upwind from any launching, burning, or falling fireworks.
- Do not handle any fireworks that are burning, smoldering, or smoking.
- Do not light fireworks in or near buildings, debris, or other structures that could easily catch fire.
Share your stories of patients injured by fireworks in the comments.