Avoid Firework-Related Injuries this Fourth of July with
Safety Tips from KentuckyOne Health
Holiday named “Most Dangerous Holiday” by National Safety Council
Louisville, Ky. (June 26, 2014)— The National Safety Council deemed our nation’s Independence Day as the “Most Dangerous Holiday” partly due to fireworks, despite often being viewed by citizens as a time to celebrate, barbeque and spend time outdoors. Emergency department physicians with KentuckyOne Health warn individuals of the dangers of fireworks and suggests precautions to take this Fourth of July.
As many as 8,700 firework-related injuries occurred in 2012 according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), with more than half of those injuries being burns.
“Year after year, we see patients with a variety of firework-related injuries right around the Fourth of July,” said Eric Fulcher, M.D., a KentuckyOne Health emergency department physician.
Children are often in awe of fireworks and handed sparklers and bottle rockets by their parents as “safe” fireworks to light off. However, those two types of fireworks cause nearly a fourth of the injuries. Additionally, children between the ages of 10-14 are three times more likely to be injured by fireworks than the rest of the population.
The CPSC recommends taking these safety precautions before setting off fireworks this holiday:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
In addition, Dr. Fulcher recommends wearing eye protection and keeping spectators a safe distance away from fireworks.
“Roughly 12 percent of firework-related injuries are to the eyes, and 41 percent are to the hands and fingers according to CPSC,” said Dr. Fulcher. “The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch a professional firework display at your local festival or fair.”
In the incidence of firework mishaps, seek medical attention immediately. In case of a medical emergency, always call 9-1-1.
About KentuckyOne Health
KentuckyOne Health was formed when two major Kentucky health care organizations came together in early 2012. KentuckyOne Health combines the Jewish and Catholic heritages of the two former systems – Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System. In late 2012, the organization formed a partnership with the University of Louisville Hospital | James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The nonprofit system is committed to improving the health of Kentuckians by integrating medical research, education, technology and health care services wherever patients receive care. KentuckyOne Health has more than 200 locations including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies across the state of Kentucky and southern Indiana.