6 Ways to Avoid Injury on July 4

Glowing sparklers, massive booms from afar, and collective “oohs” and “ahhs” are familiar sights and sounds to most Americans. Yes, the Fourth of July will soon be upon us. And once again, Memorial Medical Center is preparing for an influx of firework-induced, avoidable injuries and burns.

“We typically see a spike in burns and firework-related injuries during this time of year,” says Doug Gregory, RN, nurse manager of Memorial’s Regional Burn Center.

Sara Plunk, RN, nurse manager, MMC Emergency Department, says, “Our goal this year is to keep everyone harm-free and inform the public of safe ways to enjoy fireworks this season.”

Fireworks should be handled delicately and cautiously. They have the potential to cause serious harm, even death, if not handled properly.

Memorial’s Regional Burn Center and Emergency Department staff provided the following stats and tips so you can have a fun and safe holiday celebration. Have fun enjoying the sights and sounds, but be smart. Be safe. Avoid injury.

  • Prep Work – Only use fireworks outdoors, away from buildings, spectators, animals and dry vegetation. Keep spectators a safe distance away from fireworks. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix; have a “designated shooter.”
  • Yes or No – Yes – Always report illegal explosives to fire or police departments. They can kill. No – Do not ever use homemade fireworks. They can kill.
  • Water and Fire – Water is fire’s worst enemy. Use a garden hose to wet down the area before lighting fireworks. Always have water– a bucket or a hose — handy.
  • No Joke – Never throw or aim a lit firework at a person or animal.
  • Duds – Never relight a “dud” firework. Stay away and wait 20 minutes, and then soak it in a bucket of water. Soak all lit fireworks in water and dispose in a fireproof container.
  • Kids – Sparklers are fireworks. And dangerous. They burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Never let a child light a firework or touch a dud firework or pick up one that’s already exploded. Be aware of where children are at all times while enjoying fireworks.

This infographic shows firework-related injuries in Illinois in July 2011.