Summer Safety: Fireworks

Summer is a season filled with many celebrations that include fireworks. Many people fail to realize just how dangerous they really which results in accidents each year that may cause life-altering injuries for people of all ages. Firework injuries can be particularly difficult to treat because they involve both burns and blast injuries, which damage tissues from the skin through the bone and can even cause partial or complete hand amputation.

Fireworks caused over 11,000 injuries in 2016, most commonly damaging hands and fingers. Sparklers, which many parents consider to be safe, burn at greater than 1,000 degrees F and can quickly cause serious injury. Injuries to the hand may include disfigurement and permanent disability, affecting jobs and life satisfaction.

Many states recognize the danger and limit the use of consumer fireworks at varying levels. As hand surgeons who specialize in this type of injury, the ASSH urges the public to understand that:
 

All fireworks are inherently dangerous. 

  • Firework use should be limited to professional display; explosive materials should only be handled by professionals.
  • Firework injuries to the hand can be devastating and have large personal and economic costs. 
  • Fireworks are unpredictable, and even trained technicians are susceptible to injury. Yet, we understand that consumers may continue to use fireworks, so we recommend additional safety precautions should always be taken.

SAFETY TIPS:

  • Use personal protective equipment, including eye protection, when handling any flammable material.
  • Ensure that people nearby are aware of any plan to ignite fireworks and are in a safe area.
  • If attending a public display, pay close attention and obey all rules and regulations established by the authorities and crew in charge of safety.
  • Do not consume alcohol or use other drugs when choosing to use a firework, as it may impair judgment and dexterity.

Hands are our primary tools for exploring the world; an injury can permanently impact your home and work life. Please be safe this season!