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  • Tips to avoid fireworks injuries this Fourth of July 2024

    July 2, 2024
    Contact: Dawn Bryant
    Tidelands Health
    (843) 652-1636

    News for Immediate Release:

    Tips to avoid fireworks injuries this Fourth of July
    Setting off fireworks is a tradition during many Fourth of July celebrations, but it’s important to remember simple steps to keep safe.
    Visits to emergency departments with burns, hearing damage and other fireworks-related injuries increase leading up to and in the weeks after Independence Day, says Wendi Kobylarz, Tidelands Health emergency department director. 

    “Throughout most of the summer, someone is out there letting off fireworks somewhere,” Kobylarz says, “though things certainly pick up around the Fourth of July.”

    Whether people are setting off bottle rockets, Roman candles or other types of pyrotechnics, those who aren’t paying close attention and following safety guidelines can easily send themselves or someone else to the ER.

    In 2023, about 9,700 people were treated in ERs for fireworks injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, including 800 injuries associated with firecrackers and another 700 injuries involving sparklers.

    Hands and fingers were the body parts most often injured by fireworks, followed by the head, face and ears. Teenagers ages 15 to 19 were the most likely to be injured by fireworks and end up in the emergency department.

    “In recent years, we’ve had some hand burns and some people who have complained of ringing ears from being too close to fireworks,” Kobylarz says.

    Sparklers are a common cause of burns, Kobylarz says. That’s because the popular hand-held displays burn at about 2,000 degrees.

    The risk doesn’t end when the sparkler burns itself out, because the sparkler stick can remain extremely hot. It’s best to douse the sparkler in water at the end to avoid potentially injuring yourself or someone else.

    To stay safe around fireworks this year, follow these recommendations from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
    • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers.
    • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap. 
    • Light fireworks one at a time, and move quickly away from the firework.
    • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
    • Never place any part of your body directly over a firework when lighting the fuse. Once the firework is lit, move to a safe distance. 
    • Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
    • To prevent a trash fire, douse spent fireworks with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding.
    • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase and set off fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.
    • Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
    About Tidelands Health
    Tidelands Health is the region’s largest health care provider and MUSC Health affiliate, serving the Carolinas at four hospitals and more than 70 outpatient locations. More than 2,500 employee, physician and volunteer partners work side by side with our communities to transform the health of our region – promoting wellness, preventing illness, encouraging recovery and restoring health.