It’s best to leave the fireworks displays to the pros. Sadly, the number of fireworks-related deaths and injuries each year is on the rise, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“Unfortunately, we do tend to see an uptick in injuries related to fireworks at this time of year,” said Dr. Steven Valassis, chair of Emergency Medicine at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. “The majority of injuries are burns — most often involving the hands or face.”
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 9,100 fireworks-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2018. More than half of those occurred in the one-month period around the Fourth of July. Sadly, at least five people lost their lives to fireworks that year.
It’s important to know that some of our seasonal favorites can really put you and your family at risk. Here are the injury statistics from smaller fireworks we need to take more seriously:
- Sparklers: 31 percent.
- Firecrackers: 11 percent.
- Roman candles: 6 percent.
- Bottle rockets: 4 percent.
Did You Know?
Sparklers burn as hot as 2,000 degrees. People often hand out sparklers to children. That’s a bad idea. Sparklers can cause significant eye injuries, burns or even explode in your hand.
Because fireworks are now legal in Connecticut and easy to buy, it’s important to review the safety steps each time you use them. Remember, you’re setting an example for young eyes and ears.
- Never try to make your own fireworks.
- Always have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of accidents.
- Steer clear of others — fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even in jest.
- Light one firework at a time (not in glass or metal containers), and never relight a dud.
- Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can.
- Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed by fireworks.
“I urge everyone to make sure your household first aid kit is up-to-date, fully stocked, and easily accessible,” says Terrence Sheehan, EMS coordinator at St. Vincent’s. “Do not hesitate to call 911 or get to your nearest emergency room in the event there is an accident.”
If you experience a serious illness or injury, go to the nearest Emergency Room. Find a list of Hartford HealthCare Emergency Services locations here.
For more information about St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, click here.
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