How to prevent firework hand injuries

Enjoy July Fourth responsibly

It’s fun to play with fireworks … until it’s not. Emergency rooms across the country see an increase in burns and hand injuries around the Fourth of July.

Charity S. Burke, M.D., hand surgeon, Norton Louisville Arm & Hand, is no stranger to treating fireworks injuries.

“When you’re the on-call hand surgeon during the Fourth of July, you know you’re going to be busy,” Dr. Burke said.

Here are some tips for staying out of the emergency room:

  • Obey your state’s laws regarding fireworks. Currently, 37 states plus the District of Columbia ban rockets, 25 states ban firecrackers and 27 states ban shells and mortars.
  • Avoid using shells, mortars and homemade fireworks such as pipe bombs, tennis ball bombs and altered consumer fireworks.
  • A responsible adult should monitor all firework activity. Do not give fireworks to children.
  • Have a bucket of water and a hose with running water nearby while using fireworks.
  • Read safety labels and instructions before igniting.
  • Never hold a firework while it is lit.
  • Wear safety glasses while using and lighting fireworks.
  • Do not drink alcohol while igniting fireworks. Enjoy alcohol in moderation after the show.
  • Light one firework at a time, and move away immediately after lighting.
  • Use fireworks outside only, away from buildings and cars.
  • Do not relight “dud” fireworks. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Dispose of used fireworks by wetting them down and placing in a metal trash can, away from any buildings or combustible materials until the next day.

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