Fireworks Safety: 4th of July
Annapolis Urgent Care Update
As 4th of July approaches in the Annapolis area, Evolve Medical would like to remind everyone that hundreds of Americans are injured each day in the month around the July 4th holiday, requiring trips to urgent care and the ER. Here are some easy tips and some great information to help you and your family avoid fireworks-related injuries–as well as some great advice on what to do if injured.
Firework Safety Tips
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and National Council on Firework Safety both provide useful lists. Evolve has compiled of “Best Of List” with easy to remember and simple tips:
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
- Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
- Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
Who is Most at Risk?
According to USA.gov, males are injured 68% of the time and females only 32%. The age most likely to be affected is ages 25-44 (40%) of all injuries. Next is age 45-64 at 14% but then alarmingly the remaining age groups are evenly distributed (about 9-10% for age groups 5-9, 10-14, 15-19 and 20-24 years of age). 7% of the injured are ages 0-4! In fact, children under the age of 5 had the highest per capita rate of fireworks injuries.
Take away lesson? The most injured group are the young dads ages 25-44 and not necessarily the kids and teens. And 7% are ages 0-4 meaning an adult was involved in their injury.
What Causes the Most Injuries?
The list below is important for 2 reasons. 17% of all injuries are from sparklers, which we readily give out to our youngest kids. And the other take-away point is more than a quarter of all injuries occur from fireworks that are legal in the state of Maryland.
14%: Reloadable Shells
7%: Roman Candles
6%: Bottle Rockets
2%: Multiple Tubes
3%: Public Display
So what are the most common mistakes? The leading causes of fireworks-related injuries are, in order, as follows:
- Too close
- Leaning over the fireworks
- Dud relighting
- Altering or tampering with the firework
- Unsafe surface
What To Do In Case of Injuries
In 2013, eight people died and an estimated 11,400 people were hurt while handling fireworks. That’s up from 8,700 injuries in 2012. No matter how careful one is, accidents happen. So here is what you need to know should someone get injured.
A minor burn is red and painful and sometimes results in a blister – for instance when a child picks up an old sparkler that hasn’t cooled down.
- Hold the affected area under cold, running water for at least 10 minute
- If it’s a child and the area is blistered, you need to be seen by a doctor.
- If it is an adult and the blister is larger than a child’s palm, you need to be seen by a doctor
- Once the burn has been cooled for at least 15 minutes,the burn can be covered with sterile cling or a hand can be inserted into a sterile plastic bag.
- If clothing has caught on fire it is more than likely that the burn will be severe.
- Don’t forget: Stop, drop and roll!
- A severe burn is deep and doesn’t hurt as much as a minor one due to damaged nerve endings.
- Start cooling the burn immediately under cool running water for at least 10 minutes
- Use a shower or hose if the burns are large.
- Keep cooling the burn while waiting for professional help to arrive.
- Keep areas that are not burnt as warm and dry as possible to try and avoid the person going into shock.
- Call 911
- While cooling, remove any constricting items such as jewelery or clothing from the affected area unless they are stuck to the burn.
- Wear disposable gloves if they are available
For ALL burns NEVER
- Touch the burn
- Use lotions, ointments and creams
- Use adhesive dressings
- Break blisters
Sprains and strains
Although we don’t typically think of these injuries during fireworks season, they are common and are usually caused by falling or tripping in the dark.
- Advise the person to sit or lie down.
- Support the injured limb in a comfortable position
- Cool the area by applying an ice pack to reduce the pain and swelling
- Apply comfortable support to the injury by surrounding the area with a thick layer of padding
- Raise the injured area
- Open the affected eye and carefully look for any embedded object
- If there is anything lodged in the eye, cover both eyes and phone for an ambulance
- If you can see the object in the eye and it is moving freely, have a sterile eye wash and gently irrigate the eye to remove it
- If still in pain, or discomfort, seek medical advice.