Employee & Community Health

Do's and don'ts for fireworks fun

6/19/2017 by Dr. Maria Valdes

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It's fun to light up the night with fireworks, but that fun too frequently turns into a trip to the emergency room. During the month around the 4th of July, emergency rooms average 230 visits per day from people with fireworks-related injuries, including burns. 

  • Sparklers can reach temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees, but fireworks can cause burns, mostly to the hands, eyes, face and ears. 
  • People under 25 are most likely to be injured, with half of those hurt under age 15. 
  • Sparklers cause more than half of the injuries to children under five. 

These do's and don'ts will help ensure you have a safe and fun Fourth. 

  • DO watch a public fireworks display. 
  • DO leave pets at home. Keep them away from noise related to fireworks. 
  • DO follow your state and local community laws. Legal fireworks have a label with the manufacturer's name and directions. Illegal ones are unlabeled and have names such as M80, M100, Blockbuster or Quarter Pounder. Fireworks in brown packaging are meant for professional displays. 
  • DO use fireworks only as intended. 
    • DON'T combine or alter fireworks or use homemade ones. 
    • DON'T aim or throw a firework at anyone or carry them in your pocket. 
  • DO store fireworks out of the reach of children and in a cool, dry place. 
  • DO light fireworks away from buildings and vehicles. Have a bucket of water and garden hose handy. 
  • DO closely supervise children where fireworks are being lit. 
    • DON'T allow children to hold or light fireworks themselves. 
  • DO know how to light fireworks safely. The person lighting them should wear eye and hearing protection. Light only one firework at a time, then move away quickly. 
    • DON'T place any part of your body directly over the firework when lighting the fuse. 
    • DON'T relight a firework. Wait 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water. 
    • DON'T mix alcohol and fireworks. A sober, responsible adult needs to be in charge of the fireworks and make sure others in the area are safe. 
  • DO dowse the entire fireworks area with water after the display and place all used fireworks in a water-filled metal can. 
  • DO know what to do if someone gets hurt. The injured person should seek immediate care in the nearest emergency room. 
    • DON'T rub an eye injury, flush it with water or put ointment on it. Instead, seek immediate medical attention.