Local emergency doctor stresses importance of firework safety

As people begin to stock up on their favorite fireworks, one local emergency doctor is reminding people to take caution while lighting these explosives.
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 8:36 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Fireworks can be colorful and entertaining, but if safety protocols aren’t properly followed while using fireworks, they can easily turn into an expensive trip to the emergency room.

With the Fourth of July on the horizon, many people are starting to stock up on their favorite fireworks, but a local emergency doctor is reminding people to be safe while lighting off the explosives.

Dr. Mark Mitchell who works as an emergency physician at CHI Health St. Francis said, fireworks caused around 11,500 people to seek out some type of emergency service for injury-related incidents last year.

Dr. Mitchell also said approximately 75% of firework injuries happen around the Fourth of July.

While St. Francis hadn’t seen many admitted to their emergency room for firework injuries yet this year, in the past, he said he’d seen some pretty severe cases.

“There was one very catastrophic injury last year, a severe hand injury, where actually lost some fingers as a result of the injury and so, that’s something that people have to live with for the rest of their lives,” Dr. Mitchell said.

Dr. Mitchell continued to say, a person of any age could be injured by fireworks, but ages 20 to 24 years is the most common age group to experience injuries from fireworks.

He also warned people to be safe — even while using sparklers. These particular fireworks burn at very high temperatures, some up to 2,000º Fahrenheit.

Additionally, Dr. Mitchell suggested firework users avoid going back to relight a firework after the fuse burns out before it sets off.

“If a firework that you try to ignite doesn’t work, don’t go back and try to relight it, because the fuse is so short at that time you may not have adequate time to get away from it,” he noted. “Pour water on it and go to the next one.”

Dr. Mitchell also warned people to avoid using fireworks while intoxicated or while using drugs.

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