REPORT: Fireworks-related injuries, deaths up in the U.S.
Urgent Care centers in Central Kentucky talk about common injuries associated with the Fourth of July
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Fireworks-related injuries and deaths in the United States have climbed by about 25% over the past 15 years, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Last year alone, the report says nine people died in incidents involving fireworks while 11,500 were injured.
Kentucky Emergency Management (KEM) says that’s why it’s so important everyone knows about fireworks safety.
According to KEM, if not handled properly, fireworks can cause burn and eye injuries in kids and adults. In the recent years, six deaths were linked to fireworks and hospital emergency departments treated 9,300 fireworks injuries.
KEM says the best way to protect your family is to leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals:
- Attend public fireworks displays, and leave the lighting to the professionals.
- Lighting fireworks at home isn’t even legal in many areas, so if you still want to use them, be sure to check with your local police department first. If they’re legal where you live, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Kids should never play with fireworks. Things like firecrackers, rockets, and sparklers are just too dangerous. If you give kids sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and away from the face, clothing, and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800° Fahrenheit (982° Celsius) — hot enough to melt gold.
- Buy only legal fireworks (legal fireworks have a label with the manufacturer’s name and directions; illegal ones are unlabeled), and store them in a cool, dry place. Illegal fireworks usually go by the names M-80, M100, blockbuster, or quarterpounder. These explosives were banned in 1966, but still account for many fireworks injuries.
- Never try to make your own fireworks.
- Always use fireworks outside and 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.
- Don’t hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting. Wear some sort of eye protection, and avoid carrying fireworks in your pocket — the friction could set them off.
- Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush and leaves and flammable substances. Local fire departments respond to more 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year.
- Light one firework at a time (not in glass or metal containers), and never relight a dud.
- Don’t allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
- Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can.
- Think about your pet or nearby animals. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they’ll run loose or get injured.
- If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don’t allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage. Also, don’t flush the eye out with water or attempt to put any ointment on it. Instead, cut out the bottom of a paper cup, place it around the eye, and immediately seek medical attention — your child’s eyesight may depend on it. If it’s a burn, remove clothing from the burned area and run cool, not cold, water over the burn (do not use ice). Call your doctor immediately.
And because the holiday tends to lead to an increase in injuries, Urgent Care centers in Lexington are ready to handle any patients who come in.
ABC36’s Danielle Saitta will have more from an Urgent Care in Lexington about common injuries and when you should seek out medical care, tonight on News at Five.
More information on safe grilling from the National Fire Protection Association can be found HERE.