Fourth of July fireworks led to 9,000 emergency room visits last year because of injuries including burns, lacerations and even loss of limbs, safety officials say. Luckily, apart from banning their use entirely, there are simple safety measures revelers can take this Independence Day.
Fireworks-related injuries to the hands, face and head were most common among the 6,000 incidents reported around the Fourth of July last year, and the majority of the injuries were caused by firecrackers, bottle rockets and sparklers. Even worse, many injuries involved the loss of a limb, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and there were two deaths last year due to fireworks accidents.
Beyond the direct dangers of fireworks accidents, the Fourth of July means fire departments and emergency responders may be occupied with fireworks-related incidents that could prevent them from timely attendance to other emergencies. What’s more, four firefighters have lost their lives due to fireworks incidents, according to Acting U.S. Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines.
To help illustrate its point, the CPSC held a recent press event on fireworks safety and was joined by Jason Henderson, a man who lost both hands and sight in his right eye because of a fireworks accident.
The CPSC advises parents to never let young children play with or ignite fireworks, to avoid buying fireworks that come in brown paper packaging because they’re often meant only for large professional displays, to avoid having any body part over fireworks as they’re being lit, and to keep in mind that even sparklers can burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.