The Fourth of July and fireworks go hand in hand, and while bright lights and loud bursts will soon fill the air to signify the national holiday, thousands of people will spend it in the emergency room, suffering from a fireworks-related injury. For the upcoming celebration, Saint Joseph Berea, part of KentuckyOne Health, is encouraging everyone to take precautions to avoid injuries and ensure a safe holiday.
In 2015, there was an increase across the United States in fireworks-related injuries that sent people to the hospital. An estimated 11,900 people were treated in emergency rooms, the highest number of injuries in 15 years, according to a report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Sixty-seven percent of those injuries occurred between June 19-July 19.
CPSC data reveals more than 50 percent of fireworks-related injuries in 2015 were burns. The most injured body parts include the hands and fingers (36 percent); head, face and ears (19 percent); eyes (19 percent); trunks (11 percent); legs (10 percent); and arms (5 percent). In 2015, at least 11 people died as a result of fireworks-related injuries. In at least one incident, the victim was not using fireworks, but died in a house fire caused by fireworks.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends the following when handling fireworks for any occasion:
· Have an adult present to supervise older children
· Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby
· Use common sense
· Read and follow directions on labels
· Buy from a reliable source
· Use eye protection
· Light one firework at a time
· Back up to a safe distance after lighting the fireworks
· Avoid fireworks packaged in brown paper (this is a sign they were made for professional displays and could pose a danger for consumers)
· Douse the fireworks with plenty of water after they have finished burning
· Wear loose clothing
· Allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
· Place your body over the fireworks device when lighting the fuse
· Point or throw fireworks at another person
· Ignite more than one at a time
· Mix drinking alcohol and fireworks
· Try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully
· Make or use homemade products
· Launch fireworks from glass or metal containers
· Carry fireworks in a pocket
If you receive a life-threatening injury as a result of fireworks or are in doubt, call 911. For non-emergency injuries, visit chooseyourdoor.org or call 888.570.8091 to find a provider near you.