JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – American Medical Response (AMR) medics are reminding Mississippians about the risks of fireworks and the safety protocols necessary to avoid injury.

They reported that fireworks send thousands of people to the hospital each year and cause millions of dollars in fire losses. Neighbors are urged to use caution when using fireworks to prevent disfiguring burns, loss of eyes and fingers and to avoid property fires.

Medics reported the following information about firework risks:

  • The United States Fire Administration (USFA) reports more than 11,000 people are injured each year by fireworks.
  • The United States Consumer product Safety Commission reports that nearly half of all of those injured by fireworks are under the age of 15.
  • Fingers and hands are most often injured.
  • The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that fireworks annually cause nearly 2,000 eye injuries with permanent eye damage.
  • Fireworks can cause permanent hearing loss, second and third degree burns and amputations.
  • USFA reports bottle rockets and other fireworks case more than 6,000 fires each year.

They remind neighbors to take the following precautions before using fireworks:

  • Follow all instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby as a precaution.
  • Wear eye protection.
  • Never use fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Ignite only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight duds.
  • Do not aim, throw or point fireworks at people, animals, vehicles or structures.
  • Never give children fireworks.
  • Sparklers are dangerous, reaching temperatures as hot as 2,000 degrees, as hot as a blow torch. They may cause serious burns long after they appear to be out.

AMR leaders noted that many Mississippi communities have restrictions and penalties on the sale and use of fireworks. Fireworks like M-80s, Silver Salutes and Cherry Bombs are illegal everywhere in the United States. Lastly, they noted that if your fireworks injure or kill someone or start a fire, you could be sued.