House Call: Fireworks Safety

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 6:02 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Welcome back to UHC’s House Call on WDTV. In the first part of our five part series, Summer Safety for Kids, Dr. John Backus, Director of Emergency Medicine Operations at UHC, joins us to talk about fireworks safety.

1. When you refer to fireworks, what exactly does that mean?

A firework is anything from a sparkler or bottle rocket to roman candles and the M class fireworks which are the big, explosive fireworks everyone gathers around to watch every year.

2. Fireworks are obviously very dangerous, but how often do people actually suffer an injury?

Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the risks associated with fireworks—devastating burns, eye injuries, fires, and even death.

There has been a 50 percent increase nationally in the number of deaths and injuries from fireworks as …

  • 44% of injuries are due to burns
  • 30% of injuries happen to hands and fingers
  • 22% of injuries happen to the head, face, and/or ears
  • 15% of injuries happen to the eyes

These statistics are data provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

3. What precautions should we take in order to stay safe when using fireworks?

We strongly recommend that you enjoy a professional fireworks display this Fourth of July. However, we know that some people will ignite a few fireworks of their own, so it is recommended to follow these safety tips when using fireworks:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often an indication that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents do not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
  • 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.
  • Douse the spent fireworks 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

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