Avoid Tragedy on the Fourth of July: Firework Safety

TAWAS CITY, MI - From barbecues and cooling off by the pool, to scenic firework shows, the Fourth of July often means a fun-filled day for families across the United States. However, patriotic fun can quickly take a devastating turn if proper safety precautions are not deployed. Local emergency medicine physicians with Ascension St. Joseph Hospital want to remind individuals of firework safety precautions and what to do if an injury occurs.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 15,600 people were treated in hospital emergency departments for firework injuries in 2020.

“It’s important to be proactive about fireworks safety. We see the most burn injuries during the summer months when fireworks are being used for holidays like the Fourth of July,” said Bob May, DO, medical director, emergency medicine at Ascension St. Joseph and Ascension Standish hospitals. “Using common sense and taking safety precautions can help prevent tragedy on what should be a fun day for the entire family.”

Fireworks-related injuries can affect the entire family; sparklers, commonly used by children, burn at 2,000 degrees.

“Adults and children are at risk for fireworks-related injuries if fireworks are not used safely,” said Dr. May. “If older children are playing with fireworks, they should be closely supervised, and adults should use fireworks responsibly. If people are drinking alcohol, they shouldn’t be using fireworks, that’s a very dangerous combination.”

Follow these simple tips for fireworks safety this Fourth of July:

  • Point fireworks away from you and occupied areas, even when they aren’t lit.
  • Do not let young children use sparklers and closely monitor older children’s use.
  • Keep a water source nearby in case of fire and accidents.
  • Only use legal fireworks approved for consumer use.
  • Enjoy a public commercial show if possible.

The emergency room is still the safest place to receive care for serious firework-related injuries and burns, with precautions in place for your safety. If you or a loved one experiences a firework-related injury or burn, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.