Higher fireworks sales may mean more people in the emergency room with injuries

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Augusta (WJBF)- Most of the CSRA’s local fireworks shows are cancelled this year due to the pandemic. That’s led to an increase in individual fireworks sales. Now doctors are warning people to be safe when celebrating the 4th.

Cancellations of traditional fireworks displays means more people than ever are buying them to set off themselves. Local doctors say there are some safety tips you need to be aware of if you’re shooting off fireworks at home.

Independence Day is known for fireworks, family and fun, but thousands end up in the emergency room each year with fireworks related injuries.

Beretta Coffman is a Physician Assistant at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center. She says they are expecting more patients that usual this year.

“So our concern here is the influx of patients we are expecting because of the backyard fireworks exhibitions…You want to be very very safe. A fireworks injury can change someone’s life forever,” said Coffman.

Skip Playford, the manager at Wacky Wayne’s Fireworks, says people should handle fireworks safely and always read the directions.

“Don’t hold fireworks unless they were intended to be held. Make sure the area you’re firing around is clear, free of obstructions, trees and buildings, have one designated person to light them, everybody else should be at least seventy five feet away and keep water or sand available in case you start a fire.”

Lamarcus Gaines was shopping for fireworks Friday. He says there is one important rule he plans on following.

“First off, social distancing! Not because of corona, but because when it detonates I’m trying to get out of the way, cuz I don’t want to blow my hand off or nothing like that,” said Gaines.

While some fireworks are considered safe for children, Coffman says kids and fireworks don’t mix.

The National Safety Council website says that at least fifty percent of fireworks related injuries each year are to children and teenagers.

“So the answer is children should not…it’s not a child’s toy. You know we see sparklers and we think they’re safe. They’re not,” said Coffman.

The NSC says an estimated twelve hundred fireworks injuries a year are from small fireworks and sparklers. Sparklers can get up to two thousand degrees Fahrenheit.

Fireworks aren’t the only burn danger on the 4th of July holiday. The Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America also says to take safety precautions whiling grilling and use plenty of sunscreen.

For more tips on fireworks safety, you can visit either the National Safety Council website or the Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America website.

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