Firework injuries send thousands to emergency room each year in U.S.

By KBJR News 1

July 3, 2014 Updated Jul 3, 2014 at 10:07 AM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- It's the week before Independence Day, and chances are good you've already heard people celebrating.

Too many of those celebrations will end up with visits to the emergency room.

If you're among those celebrating this holiday weekend you should know that fireworks injuries send more than 9,000 people to the emergency room each year across the United States.

"Despite the attempts to talk about firework safety, the legality vs. illegality of the products that are out there, the numbers of injuries have stayed the same,” St. Luke's Emergency Physician, Dr. Nick Vandeelen, said.

Most of those injuries are burns to the hands, and it's not surprising who receives those injuries most often.

"The largest numbers of injuries occur in the age range of age 15 to 24 and then second after that is less than 10 years of age,” Vandeelen said.

Doctors, along with many others, recommend enjoying fireworks at an organized professional show, but also say if you decide to use them, safety is critical - as it often says on the label.

"Use only under close adult supervision. Outdoor use only, don't shoot the fireworks inside. Never hold them in your hand. You light the fuse and you get away,” Owner of KG Fireworks, Jason Deatherage, said.

Deatherage says there are plenty of things people do wrong when it comes to fireworks.

"Most people don't realize a strip of firecrackers should not be disassembled and lit one at a time because the fuse on it is usually short and it's paper grey fuse and it lights really quick,” Deatherage said.

Fireworks aren't to be trusted either. It's important to keep a bucket of water handy and always wait until you're sure there isn't a chance for more explosions.

Adults who are lighting fireworks should always purchase them from reliable sellers, wear eye protection and keep all body parts as far away as possible from the area of ignition.

Bryce Henry
Bhenry@kbjr.com

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