Fireworks are a staple of any Fourth of July, but they also cause an average of almost 18,500 reported fires per year. It is also estimated that 11,100 injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2016 were caused by fireworks. The best way to ensure your family’s safety and avoid burn injuries this Fourth of July is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, go enjoy the public fireworks display put on by professionals. Even sparklers, which are commonly thought of as harmless, burn between 1,200 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and account for one-fourth of emergency room visits due to fireworks. Glow sticks can be a fun alternative to sparklers and they can last all night.
Although it is strongly discouraged, if you do plan on using fireworks at home or at a Fourth of July gathering this year, it is extremely important to keep the following safety tips in mind:
- Make sure the fireworks you are using are legal in your area.
- Always closely supervise children around fireworks.
- Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
- Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
- Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances.
- Have a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
Anything that explodes or is projected into the air is illegal in North Carolina. Legal fireworks include snake and glow worms, smoke devices, noisemakers (snappers and string poppers) and sparklers.
If an injury does occur, call 911 immediately. In the case of an eye injury, don’t touch or rub the eye as this can cause even more damage. The Cone Health Trauma Services team is dedicated to providing exceptional emergency medical treatment to individuals throughout the area who have endured severe trauma.
Leigha Jordan is the injury prevention coordinator for the trauma department at Cone Health. She also manages the activities of Safe Guilford, the injury prevention coalition for Guilford County, and provides outreach and education on child passenger, bike and pedestrian safety, and fall prevention for older adults. Jordan received a Master of Science in Health Promotion from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2001.