GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WDVM) — Fireworks are a time-honored tradition of July Fourth celebrations and a signature sound of summer in America, but many public displays are being cancelled this year amid COVID-19 social distancing. Health experts worry this could lead to an increase in fireworks-related injuries as more people attempt to put on their own displays.
A recent national survey found that more than two in five Americans plan to buy fireworks this year, including 16 percent who say their purchases are a direct result of COVID-19 cancellations.
“You have more inherent risk of people getting bigger and better fireworks than they usually acquire for themselves because there’s not going to be large aerial shows,” said Elizabeth Gibson, MD, an ER Physician. “They may try to take it upon themselves to have the best fireworks show in the neighborhood or the best fireworks show that their family has ever put on and a lot of people don’t realize just how dangerous these fireworks are until they sustain a life-changing injury.”
Even products that may seem harmless, like sparklers, should be used with caution. They burn up to 2000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt metal and certainly hot enough to burn through skin and other tissues. Health experts don’t recommend using any fireworks outside of small novelties that don’t leave the ground, but they say if you don’t heed their advice, at least follow some safety guidelines to use them as safely as possible:
- Never hold a firework in your hand after it’s been lit
- Do not reach in to check fireworks if they don’t go off. Instead, douse them with water.
- Keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby in case of any mishaps.
- Do not allow children to access or light fireworks, and supervise use of acceptable products for children like sparklers.
- Stay sober. Most fireworks injuries involve the use of alcohol or drugs.
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