Milliken Hand Rehabilitation Center

Fireworks & Hand Safety

View our Firework Safety Tip Sheet

The summer of 2020 is different from any we have known before.  Covid-19 has affected our ability to celebrate with the normal parades, gatherings, and summer celebrations.  Large firework displays have been canceled this year.  This may lead to more inexperienced people handling fireworks meaning Fireworks & Hand Safety should be a priority!  Although they are beautiful and entertaining, fireworks can be very dangerous.

It is important to be aware of these common firework injuries and what to do in case of an accident.

BURNS:  Burns to the fingers/hand are the most common firework injury.  A minor burn causes redness and pain.  A more serious burn can cause blisters and the most serious burn causes the skin to take on a white, leathery look but the damage is beneath the skin.  Minor burns can be treated by cleaning the burn with clean running cool water and over the counter medication.  All other burns should be handled by emergency treatment.

EYE INJURIES:  Fireworks can send dangerous particles into the air.  These can cause minor irritation, burns to the eye, and at worst complete loss of vision.  Leave an eye injury alone and seek emergency medical care.

HAND FRACTURES AND LACERATIONS:  Besides burns, fireworks can cause severe hand injuries that can include, broken bones, deep cuts, and torn tendons.  Severe hand injuries require emergency treatment.  Before the arrival of emergency personnel, the following first aid is recommended: -remove all jewelry;  – cover the hand with a clean cloth; – place ice over it;- elevate the hand above the heart.

FACIAL INJURIES:  Besides burning the eyes, fireworks can burn the face.  Severe injuries also include broken facial bones and loss of facial tissue.  If injured, keep your head/face above heart level, put a clean cloth over the injury, apply ice, and seek emergency medical care as soon as possible.

AMPUTATIONS:  One of the most severe of all firework injuries is that of amputation.  First aid for this includes cleansing with a saline (saltwater) solution, covering with a clean cloth, elevating above heart level, and applying ice until you can get emergency care.  If a lost finger/s can be located, clean it with saline (saltwater), wrap it in gauze, put it in an air and watertight bag, and place it on ice.  Take it to the emergency room with you.

Additional safety tips from the National Council on Firework Safety.

Common sense can do a lot to reduce/prevent injuries and other fire hazards.  Remember, if you choose to use fireworks this season, be safe and prepared. If you do experience a hand injury from fireworks, the Milliken Hand Rehabilitation Center is here to help.