Jason DeHart: Fourth of July is a, y’know, a great holiday celebrating our nation’s birth. A lot of people like to celebrate that by using fireworks. You’ve got mortar shells, roman candles, sparklers, there is a vast majority of them. There is no safe way to use a firework. When you talk about fireworks, you’re talking about using explosives.
Dr. Rizal Lim: Usually around the fourth of July, we get a significant increase. We see approximately 30% of those are hand, which is primarily what we treat here. So if a finger is severed, generally it’s not just one finger, it’s usually the whole hand. I’ve actually seen a fair amount of patients who have actually lost a significant number of digits, and had essentially, y’know, near loss of their hands from accidents like this.
Jason DeHart: If you use fireworks, especially those that shoot upwards like mortar shells or roman candles, do not shoot them at people or over property. We’ve had situations where a firework was launched from the street, it ended up on someone’s roof, it eventually smoldered, caught on fire, and then their whole house caught on fire.
Dr. Rizal Lim: We see a range of injuries, most often these are children as well as teenagers, and you know, typically these kinds of accidents occur from either just general use of fireworks, or misuse, or accidental discharges of fireworks.
Jason DeHart: Most people think sparklers are no big deal, right? Those are the items that get handed off to kids. That sparkler got up to 600 degrees. That can cause some serious burns. People can get injured very quickly by being careless with these things.
Dr. Rizal Lim: In terms of burns, it can be anything from first degree, so just a little bit of skin change and color, to as deep as third degree, and it really just depends on the time of contact between the patient and the burn. Obviously patients where there’s a house fire involved, it tends to be worse overall. But we can always be more careful to try and avoid these problems.
Jason DeHart: Always douse your fireworks afterwards. Just because a firework may be spent, you put it in with a bunch of combustibles like garbage, it will eventually catch on fire. When it comes to fireworks, people should pay attention to them. People should take as many, if not all, safety steps as possible. We don’t want a celebration to turn into a tragedy.
Dr. Rizal Lim: For the fourth of July, be careful. Use only as directed. If the firework does not seem to be working appropriately, do not stand over it. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and be as safe as possible.