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​4th of July Injury Prevention Tips and Information

For Journalists

Stephanie Stanley

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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.