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UPMC Burn Center “Dangers of Fireworks” Press Conference

Detective Carlos Schrader
Pittsburgh Police Bomb Squad

The firecracker or firework used in this demonstration is a manufactured M-88. Each of the firecrackers has a consistent amount of weight, grain, and grams of explosive material inside. The explosives will be placed inside of an apple, a cantaloupe, and a watermelon.

Jenny Ziembicki, MD
Medical Director, UPMC Mercy Burn Services

Each year around the 4th of July holiday, multiple injuries are sustained from the use of fireworks. No firework, whether it be a sparkler or firecracker, should ever be considered safe. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals. People do not understand how devastating an injury like this is until they are the victim of it.

Guy Stofman, MD, FACS
Chief, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, UPMC Mercy

Based on the injury, reconstructive surgeons develop a plan and go through a series of events to restore function and appearance.

Maria Twichell, MD
Director, UPMC Mercy General Rehabilitation Unit

Each patient’s rehabilitation is very individualized. We try to focus on individual patient needs with the goal of returning them to their everyday life activities. In the unfortunate event that somebody does sustain a devastating injury from a firework, going through the rehab process can be very beneficial from a physical, functional, and emotional standpoint.

Coleen Gedid
Patient, UPMC Mercy

When I was on my deck with my daughter and a few of her friends, I lit what I thought was a candle. The next thing I remember is an explosion. I want to reiterate that you should never light any sort of firework yourself; leave it to the professionals. In the explosion, I lost all my fingers and most of my thumb and feel a horrendous pain all the time. I truly hope no one else has to go through this type of injury.

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