Fireworks can be fun, but deadly - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Fireworks can be fun, but deadly

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Even the most kid-friendly fireworks like sparklers can be some of the most dangerous if not handled correctly, with some of them reaching up to 2,000 degrees.

"Starting early gathering them up and put on a show for their neighbors," said Saint Martin.

Martin says he's been buying fireworks for years. "It brings out the kid in everybody. We all laugh and enjoy and just the brighter, bigger, higher. It's just good to see and it's festive."

But while these bright lights bring lots of fun, if you're not careful, it can bring danger too. "We're talking about explosives. These deserve respect," said Coy Ellis, the Pediatric Injury Coordinator for Erlanger Children's Hospital says kids should not be using any fireworks without adult supervision. "Of almost 11,000 injuries treated throughout the year, 70 percent of those occur between June 20- and July 20 and of those treated, 50 percent are under 15," said Ellis.

Ellis says these fireworks can cause burns and even penetrate the skin if too close.

Erlanger gave us their 4th of July injury numbers from the last four years. In 2011 there were five injuries brought in to the Emergency Room. In 2012 there was one and in 2013 and 2014 there were each four. Ellis says there could be more this year, now that Georgians can legally buy their own, if they don't know how to properly use them.

Lance Ethridge tells Channel 3 he chooses to shoot off his own fireworks to avoid the crowds, but he does everything he can to keep his family safe. "Every time I shoot fireworks off we have the family and kids away from the fireworks," said Ethridge.

And in case of emergency, he's got a back-up. "We keep water buckets out by the fire, when it's done we throw it in the bucket," said Ethridge.

The Chattanooga Fire Department encourages everyone to leave the fireworks to the professionals, to avoid risk of injury. But if you are setting them off, make sure if you're setting off your own fireworks that you read the labels and don't assume you know how to use them. If you end up with a dud- don't relight it, instead, leave it alone for 20 minutes and then put it in a bucket of water.

Parkridge East Hospital released these safety tips:

  • uy legal fireworks from reliable sellers. 
  • Check with your local government agency to see if fireworks, including sparklers, are banned in your state. 
  • Read and follow all label instructions and warnings. Don't just assume you know how to handle fireworks.
  • Keep pets inside. The loud noises can scare and injure them.
  • Keep a garden hose or a bucket of water nearby. Soaking fireworks immediately after they're used greatly reduces the risk of burns.
  • Make sure everyone is out of range and out of the way of lit fireworks. 
  • Light only one firework at a time. 
  • Never re-light a “dud” firework. Instead, wait 20 minutes, and then soak it in water.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes and eye protection while around fireworks. Burns to hands, feet, and eyes are the most common fireworks-related injuries.
  • Do not allow children to handle fireworks, and supervise children using sparklers. 
  • To treat burns, cool the skin with running water or a cold damp cloth, cover the burn with sterile gauze or a clean cloth, and then take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like acetaminophen. Do not pop any blisters, and keep an eye out for infection, which can be indicated by swelling, oozing pus, redness, increased pain, or fever.

For more information about fireworks safety and treatment for fireworks related injuries, visit Parkridge Health.com

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