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