SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, the medical community wants to make sure a trip to the emergency room isn’t part of your long weekend.
“We see a lot of injuries from fireworks, especially from people who are just not using them safely,” said Dr. Jay Goldstein, an emergency room physician at Memorial Health.
“A lot of hand injuries and ear injuries,” Goldstein explained, “and then we see a lot of teenagers that like to shoot fireworks at other teenagers and those cause a lot of complications.
“So I would say fireworks safety is of utmost importance.”
And while parents might think giving sparklers to their children is harmless, Goldstein warned against it.
“Those are extremes of heat,” he said. “I think they get up over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’re talking about third-degree burns.”
Wayne Ifill, a battalion chief at the Savannah Fire Department agreed. He said even if a child held a sparkler at arm’s length, the sparks could still land on their shoulder.
“So be mindful of what you’re giving kids,” Ifill added.
For the adults who plan on using the fireworks, he said it’s best to have a designated area with a hose nearby. Ifill recommended having a “zone” where you will be using the fireworks, and don’t try to light duds that don’t go off the first time because that can be dangerous.
Ifill also indicated that while fireworks are allowed, it’s only on your private property, not out in the street or in a public place like a park.
The battalion chief said to never use something like a match or cigarette lighter to light a fuse on a firecracker. He suggested using something long like incense that’s already burning and that will keep you from burning your hands.
Goldstein also advised wearing some protective gear.
“I would say ear protection and eye protection are of utmost importance because those fireworks can cause damage, especially if you’re going to be lighting them all the time,” he said.
“We talked about a secure area, depending on what kind of fireworks you’re going to be lighting,” Goldstein continued. “Dud fireworks can actually cause a lot of problems. You should never re-light a firework that did not go off.”