A paramedic’s guide to firework safety

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Jim Pollard with American Medical Response gives us a demonstration of what can happen if you’re not careful on the 4th. Your eyes are particularly at risk when dealing with explosives.

He uses a soft boiled egg to demonstrate those risks.

“In the United States, it’s estimated about 11,000 people a year go to the hospital emergency room because of firework injuries TheAmerican Academy of Ophthalmologists says about 25% of all serious firework injuries are to the eye, with the others being to the fingers and hands.”

These traditional little firecrackers don’t look very dangerous, but in truth, a sparkler burns at 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. And a bottle rocket? Well, don’t put it in a bottle.

“We strongly discourage anyone playing with bottle rockets because it’s essentially unguided missiles. They blast off at about 200 miles an hour, you have no idea where they are going. If you do, don’t put them in bottles and cans, follow the instructions, that’s the key. Others think sparklers are harmless, far from it, they get up to 2000 degrees, that’s as hot as a blow torch. We tell parents never to hold a child holding a sparkler, those burns are nasty burns. And if you have a dud leave it alone for about fifteen to twenty minutes and then douse it with water from several feet away. Don’t try to relight it, that’s the last thing you want to do”.

And if you get burned.

“Call 9-1-1, get your EMT’s there, they have the training and equipment to help the individual have the best chance to survive or not losing that body part. Use safety goggles, regular glasses offer no protection from a burn on the body.”

Fireworks customer Parish Davis tells us how he and his family celebrate… with caution.

“Go to the middle of the street and stand back when you light it, then get back. Make sure you are out of the way.”

A Loco Joe’s staff member says common sense is the key.

“Really just make sure the firework is out before it quits because it might have a back up bang. Keep water on hand, it hasn’t rained in awhile so you never know. Just normal fire precautions”.

And though they don’t look very cute, make sure to use safety goggles if you are the one doing the lighting. Regular glasses or sunglasses are not enough.

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