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Emergency rooms could see many firework-related injuries

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As plans are being made for Independence Day celebrations, one popular stop that many will make is the local firework stand.  From bottle rockets to sparklers, fireworks are very popular.  They are also very dangerous.  Dr. Amanda Deel is Assistant Dean of Clinical Education at the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University. 

“Every year there are more than 11,000 injuries nationwide related to fireworks,” said Deel. “These injuries happen around July 4 and New Year’s Day.  They are usually injuries to the hands, extremities, and eyes, as many people do not wear adequate eye protection.”

She says while some injuries can be minor, she says others can be very severe.

“Some have to go to the burn unit in Little Rock, some require surgery to the extremities and to the eyes.  The injuries to the eyes can cause loss of vision.  Fireworks are more dangerous than you may realize.”

Dr. Deel says some fireworks that might not seem to be dangerous are the ones that you should be careful about handling. She says sparklers  can also be overlooked as a danger, as many young children handle sparklers.

“The fire at the end of the sparkler can reach 2,000 degrees.  Some of the sparkles that come off of the sparklers can go onto children’s hands and feet, especially if children are barefoot or are wearing flip flops.”

Deel also says if you do shoot off fireworks to be mindful of who is around you, especially if you have military veterans in your immediate area.

“My husband and I are both veterans of the military and we would advise that you know who your neighbors are.  There are some in this community who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and loud noises may cause flashbacks.  Please be mindful of those people.” 

Dr. Amanda Deel.  Fireworks are also illegal to shoot inside city limits in Arkansas.  Paul Holmes is Public Information Specialist for the Jonesboro Police Department.

“We have an ordinance that says it is illegal to shoot fireworks in city limits.  Last year, we received about 100 calls of people shooting fireworks in city limits.  Please remember that the best option for fireworks may be the many professional shows that will be put on during the July 4th weekend.  Leave the safety to those people.”

More firework safety information can be found here.