Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially during the Fourth of July. But fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. Every Fourth of July holiday, the Paul Silverstein Burn Center at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center receives patients from personal fireworks accidents. That’s why they recommend attending professional displays instead.
But with many professional fireworks displays being cancelled this year due to COVID-19 concerns, more people may be shooting off their own explosives. If fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to set them off on your own, doctors urge you follow these important safety tips:
- Never give fireworks to small children. Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type and an adult should be present.
- Use fireworks outdoors only.
- Read and follow all warnings and instructions. Don’t try to alter them or combine them. Never experiment or make your own fireworks.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
- Have a designated adult shooter. The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.
- Light only one firework at a time on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and flammable materials.
- Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
- Never relight a “dud” firework.
- Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter. Never throw or point fireworks at other people. Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Keep a bucket of water in case of a malfunction or fire.
- Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trashcan.
- Added precautions this year because of the coronavirus include congregating in small groups, social distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands frequently.
If you or someone you know suffers a fireworks injury to the eye go to nearest emergency room for immediate evaluation. If the burn is small and to the skin, cool the burn with water not ice and see your personal physician. For larger burns, seek assistance in the emergency room.
INTEGRIS Health is the state’s largest Oklahoma-owned health system with hospitals, rehabilitation centers, physician clinics, mental health facilities, independent living centers and home health agencies throughout much of the state. For more information, visit www.integrisOK.com.