4th of July Hand & Firework Safety

Summer 2021 is looking a little brighter than the summer of 2020 as neighborhood and community gatherings, parades, and summer celebrations are returning in a safe way. This means that large firework displays may return, but also people are excited to safely gather to celebrate the holidays with friends and family. With large gatherings returning, more people may be looking to create a bigger and more exciting firework display at home. While fireworks are beautiful and entertaining, they can be very dangerous. For this reason, fireworks and hand safety should be a top priority. Below are some tips to help you and your family and friends enjoy the summer holiday safely!

It is recommended to go watch your local fireworks display that is likely run by your local fire department. However, if you decide to set off fireworks at home, here are some safety tips to follow:

  • Never let young children play or ignite fireworks. If older children are playing with fireworks, always have adult supervision.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
  • Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting the firework.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in the case of fire.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse it with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

Typical fireworks injuries can be caused by firecrackers, bottle rockets, sparklers, and more. In fact, sparklers may seem very safe, but they can burn at about 2,000 degrees, hot enough to melt metal! Below is a list of common firework injuries and what to do in case of an accident:

Burns: This is the most common firework injury. A minor burn causes redness and pain, but a more serious burn can cause blisters and more damage beneath the skin. Minor burns can be treated at home by cleaning the burn with cool running water, but all other burns should be handled by the emergency department.

Hand fractures and lacerations: Fireworks can cause severe hand injuries including broken bones, deep cuts, and torn or cut tendons. These hand injuries require immediate care by the emergency department. Before you receive emergency care, it is recommended to remove all jewelry, cover the hand with a clean cloth, place ice over it, and elevate the hand above the heart.

Amputations: This is one of the most severe firework injuries and requires immediate care by the emergency department. You should follow the pre-emergency department steps mentioned earlier.  However, if a lost finger(s) can be located, clean it with saline (saltwater), wrap it in gauze, put it in an air and water-tight bag, place it on ice, and bring it to the emergency department with you.

From the Milliken team, we hope you have a safe and happy summer holiday! If you do find yourself needing assistance for an injury related to your hands, wrist, or upper extremity, the Milliken Hand Rehabilitation Center is here to help!

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.