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Firework safety ahead of Independence Day

Posted at 7:02 PM, Jul 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-03 19:02:03-04

Fireworks are a staple for celebrating the Fourth of July every year, but they can potentially cause some serious damage. Nationwide, firework related injuries have gone up 26% since 2018 with most people injured between the ages of 45 and 64. That's according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Local first responders and doctors at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare are asking people to be more cautious this Fourth of July so you don't have to spend your holiday in the emergency room.

Joey Mayfield is buying fireworks ahead of the fourth of July.

"We like the bottle rockets, the roman candles, and then obviously the big mortars are fun too," said Mayfield.

He and his family are getting together and setting off their own firework show in the backyard.

"When it gets nice and dark we have all the kids come out and we just have a nice, fun show and grill some hot dogs and hamburgers," said Mayfield.

However, close calls when he was younger is making safety his number one priority.

"Being next to fires and that kind of stuff and we're kind of out in the open and people would you know light stuff and maybe blow up in their hand," said Mayfield.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 11,500 fireworks-related injuries nationwide in 2021. This is something Emergency Medicine Physician at TMH TR Eckler sees in Tallahassee every year.

"A lot of blast injuries, so people injured by fireworks, people holding fireworks that end up exploding in their hands, really difficult injuries to treat because a lot of times people want you to fix everything and that's not something you can easily fix," said Eckler.

He said their emergency room, trauma teams and surgery teams are prepared for anything that might come their way.

Fireworks started an estimated 12,264 fires in 2021, including 2,082 structure fires.
Tallahassee Fire Department Lieutenant Luther McClellan is also preparing his fire station for those calls.

"We will go to outside fires that are caused by fireworks, we do go to some minor burns hopefully is all it is if we do go to one," said McClellan.

Eckler believes taking a few extra safety steps before lighting fireworks would help lower the amount of people coming into the ER.

"Take more time than you need. Be a little more careful," said Eckler. "Move the fireworks way further away than you were intending to and that'll all work out well and you won't have to end up kind of sitting here having a Gatorade and a turkey sandwich with me."

First responders suggest that you read those safety instructions that are on the back of the packaging or even on the bag that you purchased your fireworks in. When you're ready to set them off, make sure you put them on a hard, flat, level surface and back away at least 50 feet before setting them off.

Simple steps like these are things McClellan said will make sure everyone enjoys their holiday safely.

"Have a good time with us and let's all make sure that tomorrow morning we wake up with all our digits and healthy," said McClellan.

Instead of setting off your own fireworks, Mcclellan adds you can always leave that to the professionals and go to a firework show instead.