Stay Safe: Skip the Fourth of July Fireworks this Year

Author

A headshot of Eugene Duffy

Eugene Duffy, NR-P, Director of Emergency Medical Services

In the two years that South Shore EMS has served as the Emergency Medical Services provider for Weymouth, our team has enjoyed being on George Lane Beach for the Town’s annual July 3 fireworks display. We get to meet members of the community, offer on-site medical interventions for minor injuries, and triage patients who need care at South Shore Hospital.

We’re disappointed that the COVID-19 pandemic means it’s not safe for communities across the South Shore to gather for fireworks displays this year. But it’s an important measure to preserve public health as we fight coronavirus.

Another way you can keep our community safe this July 4th? Don’t light your own fireworks.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least 5,600 Americans were hospitalized with fireworks-related injuries in 2018, with 36 percent of those injuries harming children younger than 15 years of age. Fireworks also caused nearly 20,000 fires in 2018, causing $105 million in property damage.

It’s already been a busy summer for fireworks. Our partners at the Weymouth Police Department have responded to numerous calls from neighbors complaining about frequent displays since early June. While nearby states like New Hampshire and Rhode Island sell pyrotechnics, it’s still illegal to have them here in Massachusetts.

It’s also a disservice to parents of sleeping babies and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to light them without warning.

Despite all of these reasons why we recommend you not purchase and use illegal fireworks, we know many will be tempted to light them around the holiday. If you’re going to do it, be sure you do so safely.

Do not use fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or drugs 

Using explosives while intoxicated is a really bad idea. Designate a sober person to set them up and light them off.

Do not aim fireworks at people, structures, or anything flammable

There’s a reason professionals light fireworks in large fields or over bodies of water. If you live in a dense neighborhood, don’t light them. Be especially careful this year—the lack of rain means plants are drier and more flammable. 

Keep water handy

Have a bucket of water nearby in case any sparks catch fire. When you’re done lighting fireworks, the spent containers or any fireworks that malfunctioned should be soaked in water for a few hours before throwing them away.

Don’t hold lit fireworks

Hand injuries from fireworks are serious. From burns to broken bones, don’t hold fireworks that are about to explode.

Skip the sparklers

Many parents feel comfortable letting kids play with sparklers, but these low-key pyrotechnics are still dangerous. The tip of the sparkler can be as hot as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. If your child drops the sparkler, it can cause serious burns. Give the kids glow-sticks as a safer alternative.

The safest way to celebrate this year’s July Fourth holiday is without fireworks at all. But if you can’t resist, be sure to use them safely to keep you out of the emergency department.

 

Learn more about South Shore Health’s Emergency and Trauma program.