Emergency doctor shares important safety tips for avoiding fireworks injuries this summer

INDIANAPOLIS – Doctors at the Community Health Network say they are already seeing patients rushing to their emergency rooms with fireworks-related injuries.

July 4 is still over a week away, but Dr Mathew Connelly said he started seeing fireworks related injuries around Memorial Day.

“The main thing we see is hand injuries. So we have had people who have lost all five of their fingers. We’ve seen people lose one or two. I mean it can be really important, ”said Dr Connelly, an emergency physician for seven years.

Dr Connelly said that even the fireworks you buy from the local warehouse are extremely powerful.

“They burn extremely hot to create that fun, shiny effect that we all know and love, but that can put people at risk if they’re not careful,” said Dr Connelly. “We have children who come in with burns and they can disfigure them for life and that’s really what we want to avoid.”

Arguably the most common fireworks given to kids is a sparkler, but Dr. Connelly says these sparklers can burn three times as much as your average grill.

“They don’t have the explosive damage that other fireworks do, but they’re just as hot as any other firework,” Dr Connelly said.

From injuries to explosive fires, Deputy Chief Michael Pruitt and his fellow firefighters from the Bargersville Fire Department have seen it all.

“I would like to think that, you know, every time we put out these public safety messages, we are preventing accidents,” Deputy Chief Pruitt said. “If we didn’t remind people there would be more accidents, but we know there will always be. It is a given.

Deputy Chief Pruitt said he learned his own lesson the hard way. At a young age, Pruitt said he lit a firecracker with a short fuse but couldn’t get away in time.

“Well this thing blew up in my face and since that point in my life I have had a slight hearing loss in my left ear that shows up in all of my hearing tests,” Deputy Chief Pruitt said.

Both Pruitt and Connelly have said all fireworks-related injuries are preventable, provided Hoosiers follow simple safety precautions:

  • Give plenty of space between the experienced adult lighting the fireworks display and the watching crowd
  • Only light fireworks on a flat surface with plenty of open space
  • Have fire extinguishers or a bucket of water nearby
  • Wear safety glasses when possible
  • Always supervise children and adolescents under 18

“Really, at the end of the day, the only sure-fire way to avoid these things is to go to your local trade show and avoid it altogether,” Dr. Connelly said.


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Linda Stewart

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