Parades, family picnics and fireworks displays are all a part of the Fourth of July celebration, however, fireworks have the potential to ruin the holiday spirit, causing serious burn and eye injuries if not used carefully.
According to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPMC), three types of fireworks keep hospital emergency rooms busy on Independence Day: bottle rockets, firecrackers and sparklers. Bottle rockets and firecrackers can fly in any direction prior to exploding, while sparklers burn at temperatures hot enough to melt gold.
"Typically, many injuries we see in the emergency department can be avoided if people follow manufacturers'' directions on how to use fireworks," said Dr. Donald M. Yealy, professor and vice chairman of the department of medicine at UPMC.
To help with a safe celebration, UPMC Health Systems offers the following do''s and don''ts of fireworks safety:
- Read and follow all warning instructions before setting off fireworks.
- Use outdoors only.
- Light only one firework at a time. The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.
- Have a fire extinguisher or water handy in case of fire.
- Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them first in water and then put them in your trash can.
- Give fireworks to small children. Adult supervision is mandatory at all times.
- Mix fireworks and alcohol consumption.
- Use fireworks indoors or in a vehicle.
- Throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Ignite fireworks, particularly bottle rockets and firecrackers, while holding them.
- Experiment or make your own fireworks.
by Virginia Sutcliffe