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4th of July Injury Prevention Tips and Information

Fireworks are spectacular to watch and a great American tradition. However, fireworks should only be handled by professionals, and enjoyed at a safe distance. Fireworks are explosive devices and are very dangerous. Even sparklers pose a serious injury risk. Although they look harmless, sparklers reach temperatures as high as 1,800˚F, a temperature that easily burns skin and can create permanent, devastating injuries.

The UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Centers’ health care team want you to enjoy a safe Fourth of July holiday and offer the following tips and information.

Here are some helpful tips:

• Consumer and display fireworks are illegal to purchase for Pennsylvania residents without a special permit.
• If a firework is found, notify your local fire department or police department. Do not touch it!
• Teach your children that fireworks are, in fact, explosive devices.
• Leave any type of fireworks to the professionals, even sparklers or novelty fireworks, as these cause devastating injuries every year.
• Never attempt to make your own fireworks or tamper with purchased fireworks.
• Firework injuries are 100 percent preventable.
• Be a good role model and lead by example.

If you are burned:


• Stop the burning process immediately by rinsing with cool, clean water.
• Wrap the burned area with a dry clean towel.
• Seek medical attention immediately.

Do not:

• Use “butter on burns”
• Break blisters
• Put ice on a burn
• Apply ointments to a severe burn

Facts about fireworks/burn injuries:

• About five patients per year treated at UPMC Mercy Burn Center result in an amputation of a limb or loss of vision due to the handling of fireworks.
• Typically, burn patients require months or years of physical and emotional healing.
• At UPMC Mercy, the highest incidence of firework injury occurs in adult males who are approximately 30 years of age.

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For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

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Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA |