fireworks on the Ohio River with Louisville skyline and bridge in the background

Happy Independence Day! The upcoming holiday weekend is sure to be an extra special celebration and staying safe is the biggest priority.

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, 66% of fireworks injuries occurred in the weeks before and after the Fourth of July. Thousands are hospitalized each summer for injuries related to fireworks.

Did you know that fireworks most often cause injuries to your hands, fingers, face or eyes? These injuries are often devastating and take a long time to heal. As the commonwealth of Kentucky’s only adult designated burn center, UofL Health – UofL Hospital takes care of between 250-350 burn injures each year. Around this time of year, these burn injuries are commonly caused by fireworks.

How can I stay safe around fireworks?

Leaving fireworks to the professionals is the best way to stay safe this Fourth of July and still enjoy the tradition.

How do I put on a good show and safely use fireworks?

Injuries from fireworks are preventable! Here are some tips and advice on how to partake in firework use safely (if you must):

Be prepared! Keep a bucket of water nearby. Place all used fireworks and fireworks that malfunction in the bucket of water. Keep the used fireworks in the bucket for several hours before discarding them. Wear earplugs or earmuffs and protective eyewear if you are igniting or are very close to the fireworks.

  • Do not allow young children to use fireworks
  • Do not use fireworks when impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Do not hold lighted fireworks in your hands
  • Never light fireworks indoors
  • Use fireworks away from people, houses or buildings
  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Never use homemade or illegal fireworks

If you do get a burn:

  1. Flush the burn with cool (not cold) water
  2. If there’s bleeding, apply direct pressure
  3. Remove jewelry and clothing from the injury
  4. Cover the area with dry clean sheets or loose bandages
  5. Seek medical attention

If you get burned this Fourth of July, seek medical attention at one of our conveniently located UofL Physicians – Urgent Care Plus locations. If the burn is severe, call 911 or seek help at the closest emergency room locations. You can be asked to be transferred to the UofL Hospital – Burn Center by calling 502-562-8008 if you are in Louisville or 888-803-8008 if you are outside of Louisville.

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Tracie Burchett BSN, RN, TCRN

Tracie Burchett BSN, RN, TCRN, is the trauma outreach and education coordinator at the UofL Health – UofL Hospital Trauma Institute. Tracie has worked in the nursing field for 12 years, spending the past nine years at the UofL Health – UofL Hospital. Outside of work, Tracie likes to spend time with her husband, three children and border collie, Porter.

All posts by Tracie Burchett BSN, RN, TCRN
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