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Forewarned on fireworks: Sparklers pose risks, too

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

By: Jeff Ash


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It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without fireworks. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is by watching public displays, but many people buy fireworks to use at home or on vacation.

 

“Year after year, we see the same kinds of fireworks injuries,” says Dr. Darren Heesacker of BayCare Clinic Emergency Physicians. He serves Aurora BayCare facilities in Green Bay.

 

“Adults should know better, but children don’t know the risks. They often are injured by sparklers, which burn at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s as hot as a blow torch.”

 

Dr. Nels Rose, also of BayCare Clinic Emergency Physicians, sounds a similar warning about sparklers.

 

“People think that they're safe, but they can cause severe burns, "Rose told WBAY-TV last year. 

 

Hospital emergency departments nationwide treated an estimated 10,500 injuries related to fireworks in 2014, the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. That number has remained steady for the past 16 years.

 

Roughly two-thirds of those injuries – about 7,000 – occurred between June 20 and July 20, the peak fireworks season, according to the CPSC. Almost half of those injured during that period were younger than 20. Slightly more than half of those injured during that time sustained burns.

 

Sparklers and firecrackers caused an estimated 1,400 injuries each during the peak season, the CPSC says.

 

Fireworks safety tips

 

  • Never let young children play with or light fireworks.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over fireworks when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of a fire or other accident.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

 Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

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BayCare Clinic, baycare.net, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.