HCA Healthcare Urges Firework Safety Ahead of 4th of July Holiday

In Brief:

  • Hospitals are preparing for an increase in emergency room visits during the July 4th holiday due to fireworks mishandling, with common injuries including burns from sparklers and explosions from firecrackers.
  • A 2022 report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission revealed that adults aged 25-44 and children under 15 are the most affected by fireworks-related injuries, with an estimated 10,200 injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments.
  • To ensure safety, experts recommend using legal fireworks, supervising children, maintaining a safe distance, reading instructions, avoiding alcohol, and considering alternatives like glow sticks for kids.

With the July 4th holiday approaching, hospitals nationwide are bracing for a surge in emergency room visits, mainly due to fireworks mishandling. Many injuries are caused by individuals who misuse fireworks or ignite

them while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a lack of safety awareness.


“We often see injuries from firecrackers exploding at close range and sparklers causing severe burns to the face, hands, and feet when mishandled,” stated Dr. Kevin Bryan, an emergency room physician at HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital.


Firecrackers can inflict severe injuries if they detonate near the face or hands. Sparklers, which burn at approximately 2,000 degrees—hot enough to melt metal—pose significant risks as well, often causing severe burns and potential eye injuries.


A 2022 report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) highlights the extent of the problem. It found that adults aged 25-44 accounted for about 36 percent of fireworks-related injuries surrounding the July 4th holiday. Children under 15 represented 28 percent of such injuries. The report estimated 10,200 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2022. However, medical professionals believe the actual number of injuries caused by fireworks is much higher, as not all injured individuals seek medical care.


“Our advice is simple—have fun over the holiday, but leave the fireworks to the experts,” advised Dr. Erik Petersen, an emergency room physician at HCA Florida Twin Cities Hospital.

Firework Safety Tips

To ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday, experts recommend the following firework safety tips:

  • Legal Compliance: Only use legal fireworks in your area and adhere to all local laws and regulations.
  • Adult Supervision: Always have a responsible adult oversee all fireworks activities. Never allow children to handle fireworks.
  • Safe Distance: Keep spectators at a safe distance from the launch area.
  • Hold with Care: Never hold a firecracker or firework in your hand. Use a lighter with a long reach to maintain a safe distance.
  • Read Instructions: Carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for each firework.
  • Clear Area: Use fireworks in a clear, open area away from buildings, vehicles, dry grass, and other flammable materials.
  • Fire Extinguisher: Have a bucket of water, hose, or fire extinguisher nearby in an emergency.
  • No Alterations: Never attempt to alter or combine fireworks; use them strictly as intended by the manufacturer.
  • No Alcohol or Substances: Avoid using fireworks if you are under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
  • Wear Eye Protection: Consider wearing safety glasses to protect your eyes from sparks and debris.
  • Alternatives: Consider safer alternatives to sparklers for children, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers, or colored streamers.
  • Protect Pets: Keep pets indoors and away from fireworks, as the loud noises and bright lights can be distressing to animals.

Following these guidelines can help ensure your July 4th celebrations are safe and injury-free.

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