(SPRINGFIELD, DECATUR, LITCHFIELD, SHELBYVILLE, O’FALLON, EFFINGHAM, BREESE, HIGHLAND, IL)– With the Fourth of July just around the corner, thoughts turn to celebrating the holiday with fireworks. Although fireworks can be exciting, festive and fun, the HSHS Illinois hospitals of HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur; HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield; HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville; HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham; and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospitals in Breese and Highland want to remind community members that fireworks can also be very dangerous.
“The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports on average, 180 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July Fourth holiday,” said Dr. Gurpreet Mander, HSHS Illinois chief physician executive. “The majority of injuries occur to the hands, fingers and eyes.”
Safety officials and HSHS Illinois hospitals recommend fireworks be left to experts specially trained and certified in pyrotechnics. However, if you do decide to use fireworks, the following practices will help keep you safe:
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
- Never allow children to play with fireworks. Young children can suffer injuries from sparklers, which burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a firework when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting a firework (only light one at a time).
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them from metal or glass containers.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Soak all spent fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can. Never discard fireworks, including used ones, in a fire pit.
- Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper. This is often a sign they were made for professional use only.
More fireworks safety tips are available on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website at: www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks
If you or someone you know is injured by a firework and in need of emergency care, call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room immediately. Community members should never delay or forgo emergency care, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our communities. At each HSHS Illinois hospital, their emergency departments are well-prepared to deliver high-quality emergency medical care 24/7, in the safest way possible.