With the Fourth of July comes Fireworks. Be Smart!

This post was authored by Rodd Santomauro and posted to The Eye Opener on July 1st, 2010.

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Many people enjoy watching the beautiful fireworks displays that accompany the July 4th Holiday.  Others decide to set-off the fireworks themselves.  Some people do both.  An article posted earlier this week at Springfield, Missouri’s News-Leader.com reminds us how dangerous lighting fireworks can be:

Those fireworks injuries include burns and injuries to hands, fingers and even eyes at this time of year.

Some burns caused by fireworks are minor; others are serious third-degree burns.

Fireworks burns may be small, but they can go deep, said physician Ted McMurry, medical director of St. John’s Emergency Trauma Center.

A Roman candle, for instance, “shoots a little fireball” that can penetrate clothing and skin.

Care providers have also seen eyes burned or injured by foreign bodies from fireworks, or they’ve had to remove fingers or hands ravaged by explosions.

“Typically, they come in with partially amputated fingers or a hand and the surgeons have to amputate (the rest),” said Debbie Mikkelson, nursing director at St. John’s Burn Center.

What causes this to happen?  Just plain carelessness for one. Recklessness or becoming injured when attempting to re-light fireworks are other reasons.  Another factor is alcohol. Kind of common sense, isn’t it? alcohol combined with fireworks can quickly turn a fun-filled family event into tragedy:

Booze may fuel such behavior, even in adults.

“I think as much as anything it’s risky behavior, but quite honestly the other thing that sometimes drives risky behavior is alcohol,” McMurry said. “Alcohol impairs our judgment so people will do things they might not otherwise do.”

It also slows reflexes, he added, so that drinkers lighting fireworks might not be able to move away from fuses as quickly as normal.

Accordingly, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has listed fireworks safety recommendations. It has also put a chilling video on YouTube that brings it home quite vividly.  We wish you a happy AND safe Fourth of July Weekend.

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