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Emergency room doctors urge extra caution this Fourth of July

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Washington — Canceled Fourth of July fireworks shows across the country are prompting many Americans – against the advice of safety advocates – to put on their own displays.

“Each year, emergency physicians see an influx of people coming into the ER with avoidable fireworks injuries,” William Jaquis, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said in a June 25 press release. More than 9,000 firework-related emergencies occur every year, ACEP says, and 36% of those involve children younger than 15.

The association urges Americans who want to see fireworks to “leave it to the professionals.” But if you insist on setting off fireworks yourself, ACEP says the following can help prevent serious injuries or burns:

  • Buy fireworks, sparklers or other flammable items from reputable, legal sellers.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher and large bucket of water or hose nearby.
  • Light one firework at a time and keep all flammable items away from children. This includes sparklers, which can burn hot enough to melt metal.
  • Never try to relight or handle fireworks that malfunction or don’t go off.
  • Don’t ignite fireworks in containers, which could turn into dangerous shrapnel.
  • Avoid horseplay around fireworks, torches, candles or any flammable items. Don’t point them at people or launch them toward anyone.
  • When lighting a firework, don’t stand directly over it. Back up immediately after lighting.
  • Spray used fireworks with water until soaked. Placing dry fireworks in a trash can create a fire hazard.
  • Don’t let COVID-19 concerns keep you from going to the ER if you have a medical issue.

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