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Advocate South Suburban Hospital urges fireworks safety

JULY 3, 2012 - The Fourth of July holiday should be a time for spending time with friends and loved ones.  But, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 8600 people instead spent time in U.S. emergency rooms last year, due to fireworks-related injuries.

 Emergency department caregivers at Advocate South Suburban Hospital see multiple fireworks-related injuries each year.  These are injuries that can be prevented, and will ruin anyone’s holiday.

“Fireworks are not toys, and there really is no such thing as a ‘safe’ firework, especially when children are handling them,” said James A. Richardson, M.D. an emergency department physician and president of the medical staff at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill.  “We want you to enjoy the holiday with family and friends – not with us in the emergency department.”

 To ensure a safest possible holiday, Richardson encourages people to leave the fireworks to the professionals at public displays.  For those who plan on using fireworks on their own, he provides these tips o keep people safe, healthy and happy during Independence Day celebrations. 

  1. Purchase Fireworks from Reliable Dealers.  Buy fireworks from reliable, licensed fireworks dealers.  Do not use illegal explosives; do not alter any fireworks; do not attempt to make your own fireworks.
  2. Follow the Laws. Follow your local and state laws regarding the possession and use of fireworks.
  3. Children Should Not Handle Fireworks.  Never let children handle, play with or light any fireworks.  Fireworks should only be handled by adults.
  4. Beware Small Hand-held Fireworks – Seemingly safe things such as sparklers pose a serious threat. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), sparklers burn at approximately 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause injury.
  5. Do Not Use Alcohol With Fireworks.  Please do not consume alcohol when using fireworks.  Fireworks must be used by individuals who act in a responsible manner and who are not impaired in any way.
  6. Keep Clear of the Fireworks.  Never put your head or any part of your body over the top of any fireworks product at any time.  Never look into a tube to check on the firework item.  Never hold a lighted firework in your hand.
  7. Use Care in Lighting the Fireworks.  Always light fireworks products with an extended butane lighting device or a flare.  Light the fuse only on the tip.  Use a flashlight at night so you can see the fuse.  Never use a lantern or other flame-producing device near fireworks for illumination.  Light the fireworks product and get away quickly.
  8. Do Not Use Malfunctioning or “Dud” Items.  Don’t persist with malfunctioning items.  Never attempt to re-light, alter or fix any “dud” firework item.
  9. Have Water Close By.  Have a fire extinguisher, water supply, hose or bucket of water nearby.  During any fireworks shoot there should always be someone assigned as the fireman, whose job it is to be alert and at the ready with a water source for emergencies.
  10. Never Use Fireworks as Weapons.  Never aim, point or throw any fireworks at another person or at any property.

 The Advocate South Suburban emergency department at 17800 S. Kedzie Ave. in Hazel Crest is open 24 hours a day. For information please call the hospital’s main line at 708-799-8000.

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