Tips for Celebrating Safely with Fireworks
According to the Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office, an average of 75 people go to Minnesota hospitals with fireworks injuries each year. Nearly 45 % of firework injuries happen to children and more than 30% of firework injuries are from sparklers and fireworks that explode or shoot off into the air. That doesn’t come close to the actual number of people injured who didn’t seek care at a hospital. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid fireworks altogether this Fourth of July. As a Level I Adult, Pediatric, and Burn Center, Hennepin Healthcare offers these tips for celebrating safely with fireworks this summer.
First, make sure any firework you’re using is legal in Minnesota. An easy way to remember what kind of fireworks are illegal is that anything that explodes or shoots in the air is against the law. So, for example, firecrackers, bottle rockets, and Roman candles all fall into that category. Instead, stick to fireworks like fountains, ground spinners, snappers, and sparklers.
Once you have your legal fireworks ready to go, follow these safety tips:
- Don’t use fireworks when intoxicated.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Talk to children and teens about fireworks safety.
- Parents should closely supervise any use of fireworks.
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Keep a bucket of water, garden hose, or fire extinguisher handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Have children use glow sticks instead.
- Make sure everyone is wearing shoes. Stepping barefoot on a used sparkler can cause puncture wounds and serious burns
- Point fireworks away from animals and people.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly, don’t try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Use them away from trees and houses as well as other flammable materials like gasoline.
- 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.
If someone is burned or injured, seek medical attention right away.
Fireworks are definitely a fun way to celebrate our nation’s birthday. If you stick to Minnesota-legal fireworks and follow basic fireworks safety precautions, you can make sure your celebration doesn’t cross from fun into tragedy.
About the author
Julie Philbrook, RN, DNP, MAN, MAL, is the Trauma Prevention Program Coordinator at Hennepin Healthcare. She serves as a Chapter Director for the National Injury Free Coalition for Kids, the ThinkFirst Foundation, and Safe Kids.
The Burn Center at Hennepin Healthcare is nationally recognized for its expertise in treating burn patients of all ages. Staffed by specially trained burn care nurses and physicians, the 17-bed inpatient unit and ambulatory care clinic provide comprehensive burn care to patients from throughout the Midwest.