Celebrating Fourth of July Safely

The Fourth of July is a great American holiday, and a wonderful day to celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, it's also a time of year when emergency physicians treat an influx of avoidable injuries.

Did you know that there are more than 9,000 firework-related emergencies annually? More than a third (36 percent) of those emergencies involve children under the age of 15, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

It's safest to leave fireworks to the professionals, but if you are using your own, emergency physicians encourage you to follow these firework safety tips to limit your risk of serious burn or injury:

  • Make sure you buy fireworks, sparklers or other flammable items from reputable, legal sellers.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher and large bucket of water or hose nearby.
  • Light one at a time and keep everything flammable away from children. This includes sparklers, which can burn hot enough to melt metal and cause serious burns or injuries.
  • Never try to re-light or handle fireworks that malfunction or don’t go off.
  • Do not ignite fireworks in containers, that could create dangerous shrapnel.
  • Avoid horseplay with or near fireworks, torches, candles or any flammable items; don’t point fireworks at people or launch them toward anyone.
  • When lighting a firework do not stand directly over it. Back up immediately after it is lit.
  • After use, spray fireworks with water until soaked. Placing dry fireworks in a trash can creates a fire hazard.

Also, remember that alcohol and driving are a deadly combination, so it's important to make a plan to get home safely after celebrations. If you're hosting or attending a get-together with guests who haven't had a chance to get vaccinated yet, there are also some precautions you can take to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

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