Fireworks Send Thousands to Emergency Rooms Each Year
Local Health Officials Offer Safety Tips
This summer, the Sagadahoc County Board of Health, Local Health Officers, and Mid Coast Hospital have teamed up to remind Mainers about the dangers of fireworks and offer tips to help keep consumers safe during holiday celebrations and summer get-togethers.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 8,700 consumers were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries in 2012. 60% of these injuries occurred within the 30 days surrounding the Fourth of July holiday.
Dr. Jay Mullen is the Chief of Emergency Medicine at Mid Coast Hospital. "Across our communities, we see a number of firework-related injuries each year," he said. "These injuries are preventable. Nobody should lose his or her vision or fingers because of a firework. I urge people to enjoy the holiday while clearly understanding the dangers of fireworks. Following basic safety precautions, wearing eye protection, and keeping children at a safe distance will go a long way towards keeping everyone safe."
Consumer fireworks became legal in Maine in 2012. Health officials are concerned that the novelty and increased availability will result in a surge of firework-related injuries this summer. The National Council on Fireworks Safety advises that the number of injuries can be greatly reduced by following these safety tips when using consumer fireworks:
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
- Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from onlookers, houses, and flammable materials.
- Light one device at a time; maintain a safe distance after lighting.
- Do not allow any running or horseplay while fireworks are being used.
- Never ignite devices in a container.
- Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks – douse and soak them with water and discard them safely.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks or in case of fire.
Sagadahoc County Board of Health, Local Health Officers, and Mid Coast Hospital urge consumers to share this information with others, helping to ensure that everyone has a festive and safe summer.