Fireworks Safety Tips from an ER physician

SOUTHFIELD, MICH (WXYZ) — From barbecues and cooling off by the lake, to scenic firework shows, the Fourth of July often means a fun-filled day for families. However, patriotic fun can quickly take a turn for the worst if safety precautions are not practiced. A local emergency medicine physician with Ascension Providence Hospital wants to remind individuals of fireworks safety precautions and what to do if an injury occurs.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 74% of fireworks injuries occur around the Fourth of July holiday, with nearly 50% of those happening to individuals 24 and younger. In 2021, an estimated 11,500 people were treated in hospital emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries.

“It’s important to be proactive about fireworks safety. We see the most burn injuries during the summer months when fireworks are being used for holidays like the Fourth of July,” said Steve McGraw, MD, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Ascension Providence Hospital, Southfield Campus.

Adults and children are at risk for fireworks-related injuries if they are not used safely. If older children are playing with fireworks, they should be closely supervised, and adults should use fireworks responsibly. If people are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they shouldn’t be using fireworks because they have slower reflex times and their judgment is affected.

“Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit and we avoid having kids near hot water. Sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees or more and can cause third-degree burns, and yet we allow kids to hold them,” said Dr. McGraw. “Fireworks-related injuries can be prevented if we use common sense and take safety precautions that can avoid tragedy on what should be a fun day for the family.”

Some simple fireworks safety tips to follow this Fourth of July are:

● Point fireworks away from you and occupied areas, even when they aren’t lit

● Do not let young children use sparklers and closely monitor older children’s use

● Keep a water source nearby in case of fire and accidents

● Only use legal fireworks approved for consumer use

● Enjoy a public display of fireworks if possible – let the professionals put on a show

The emergency room is the best place to receive care for fireworks-related injuries and burns. If you or a loved one experience a fireworks-related injury or burn, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Pet Safety Tips
Advance preparation:

*If you don’t already have one, set up a safe space where your pet can feel secure. In addition try to eliminate the sights and sounds of the fireworks, like a closet or a room with blackout curtains. Then, fill the space with comfortable beds, favorite toys, and treats.

*Encourage your pet to go to the safe space.

*Pick out calming supplements and aids. There are several natural supplements designed to reduce anxiety for animals, but other aids, such as pheromones, can also help create a sense of calm.

*Consider Behavioral training.

*Visit your veterinarian. If your pet has had severe reactions to loud noise in the past, share your concerns with your vet so they can offer personalized training advice or recommend anti-anxiety medications.

Day-of support:

*Get some exercise earlier in the day, before noise starts.

*If you’re planning to give your pet supplements or anti-anxiety medications, do so a few hours before in order to help the animal relax and reduced their reactivity.

*Leave music playing in your pet’s safe space to block the booms. Closing all the windows and doors in the house will also help muffle the noise, as well as prevent your pet from escaping if they get scared.

*Don’t make a fuss. When your pet is distressed, your first instinct may be to comfort them, but excessive comforting may reward their behavior or validate their fears. You can give them a few calm pats.

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