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Practice safety when handling fireworks

The July 1 Wellness Wednesday, held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Children’s Hospital lobby, will offer tips on the proper handling of fireworks and eye safety.

by Carolyn Cavanaugh, R.N.
Patient Educator, MUSC Storm Eye Institute
Many people spend the Fourth of July outdoors, going on picnics or beach outings during the day, and watching firework displays at night. While many of the larger firework displays in the area are carefully planned and executed by professionals, caution still needs to be practiced, especially where fireworks are handled by non-professionals.
Firework injuries can cause blindness, third degree burns and permanent scarring. A 2006 report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission stated that 11 deaths and approximately 9,200 firework-related injuries occurred between June 16 and July 16. People under the age of 20 sustained nearly half of all injuries from fireworks, with the body parts most injured being the hands, eyes, head, face and ears.

Firework safety tips

  • Follow local laws on the use of fireworks.
  • The safest way to watch fireworks is at a professional display.
  • Legal fireworks are packaged in brightly colored paper labeled with warnings and directions for safe use.
  • Beware of fireworks that may be illegal explosives (usually cherry bombs or M80s that may be in brown paper wrapping or sold loosely without safety instructions).
  • Wear safety glasses and exercise caution when handling fireworks: Bottle rockets can fly into peoples’ faces and cause eye injuries; sparklers burn at more than 1,800°F and can ignite clothing and firecrackers can injure the hands or face if they explode at close range.

Editor's note: The preceding column was brought to you on behalf of Health 1st. Striving to bring various topics and representing numerous employee wellness organizations and committees on campus, this weekly column seeks to provide MUSC, MUHA and UMA employees with current and helpful information concerning all aspects of health.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.