Doctors warn about dangers of fireworks

Posted at 5:16 PM, Jun 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-27 19:29:08-04

Celebrations for the 4th of July have begun, and fireworks can be heard already throughout the metro.  This time of year emergency rooms see their fair share of firework related injuries.

Stands started selling fireworks over the weekend.

The Nebraska Medical Center says last year they treated 20-25 people for fireworks related injuries, and CHI Creighton saw at least 40 in that time.

Doctors say injuries range from simple burns from embers to people losing parts of their hand or limbs because of explosives.

"I think people don't realize that sparklers can burn hotter than a blow torch, and that they are very unpredictable and sometimes you think that if you just go try to relight it one more time and that's when injuries can happen,” said Dr. Jessica Summers, the Director of the NMC Burn Center.

So far, NMC has had one person who was admitted because a firework went off in their hand.  That man was last listed in good condition.

The Nebraska Medical Center says about 10,000 fireworks related injuries happen each year in the US, and children 10-14 are at the greatest risk.

Here are some tips from NMC to keep you and your family safe when lighting fireworks:

  *   Never allow children to handle fireworks – including sparklers (which can reach 2000oF – hotter than a blow torch!)
  *   Always provide constant adult supervision while using fireworks.
  *   Set a good example of firework safety – observe all local and state laws.
  *   Offer children safe alternatives like glow sticks or confetti poppers.
  *   Only light fireworks outside away from homes, flammables and trash, etc.
  *   Wear leather gloves and safety goggles while lighting fireworks.
  *   Never hold lit fireworks in your hand.
  *   Never lean over fireworks or use near the face – and never point or throw fireworks at anyone.
  *   Do not relight fireworks and be careful when picking up spent fireworks – they may still be hot.
  *   Never ignite fireworks in glass or metal containers as they may explode/shatter.
  *   Keep a bucket of water or hose close by to douse “duds” — and in case of a fire.
  *   Put all used sparklers in a bucket of water as they burn at 1200-2000oF degrees and remain hot for a long time.
  *   Sometimes, even when we do our best to follow all the safety rules, accidents still happen. What do you do if you get a burn?

If a burn injury occurs – know these simple steps and take immediate action:

  *   Cool the burn with COOL (not cold) water to stop the burning process.
  *   Remove all clothing and jewelry from the injured area.
  *   Cover the area with a dry clean sheet or loose bandages.
  *   Seek immediate medical attention.