SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Fourth of July fireworks are an exciting way to celebrate Independence Day, but both legal and illegal fireworks can lead to injuries. An estimated 10,000 people will find themselves in the emergency room this year as a result.
The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal reported 35 firework injuries last year with 75 percent happening on July 4.
The emergency room at Sacred Heart Medical Center is equipped with burn kits, which are ready to go for the holiday increase. Sparklers lead to the most burns. These fireworks burn as hot as 3,000 degrees, and they sent six people to Oregon hospitals last year.
Oregon also saw five injuries from illegal fireworks. “Injuries due to illegal fireworks can be much more devastating. Usually we see someone every few years who had a firework explode in their hand,” says Dr. Scott Williams at Sacred Heart.
Already this season, a 10-year-old Missouri boy lost four fingers after firecrackers blew up unexpectedly. The boy will undergo reconstructive surgery on his hand.
Nearly half of firework injuries last year were hand injuries. Dr. Williams says not every burn requires a visit to the emergency room. Seek medical attention if the victim is under two years of age or over 70 years old, or if the burn is serious.
“If a wound is causing severe pain, it should be evaluated by a medical professional. Often that will involve calling 911,” says Williams.