BIG FLATS, N.Y. (WETM) – The skies will explode with brightly colored fireworks across the country this weekend, and health experts are warning residents about the many dangers these items can possess.

Thousands of burn injuries are reported every summer in the United States, and a large chunk of those injuries are due to fireworks. Guthrie Orthopedics Surgeon Dr. Gavin O’Mahony gave crucial tips on Wednesday for residents planning to use sparklers or shoot rockets in the sky.

“Never hold fireworks in your hand while ignited,” said Dr. O’Mahony. “That is one of the major causes of injury that I see.”

Dr. O’Mahony adds a list of other things to not do when handling fireworks:

  • Don’t allow small children to use fireworks
  • Never let larger children use fireworks without adult supervision
  • Don’t drink or be under the influence while using fireworks
  • Never point fireworks at other people
  • Don’t try to restart or relight a firework if it doesn’t ignite completely

Even though there are a lot of “don’ts” to handling fireworks, Dr. O’Mahony also has a list of “do’s” to ensure a safer 4th of July experience, including:

  • Keep a bucket of water or a hose in case a fire happens
  • Wear eye protection
  • Stay a safe distance away from the firework
  • Read all instructions
  • Weigh down areal fireworks so they don’t tip over and shoot out horizontally

In the past couple years, tens of thousands of firework-related injuries were reported nationwide. Experts have stated that many of these injuries happened in residents’ homes thanks to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Since the pandemic, there has been a huge increase in firework-related injuries, and I feel a lot of that is because of DIYs at home because we didn’t have the public shows,” said Mary Beth Wayne, clinical supervisor of hand management at Arnot Health. “There’s a 50% increase in deaths and injuries from 2019 to 2020. ER visits in 2020 were over fifteen thousand.”

Doctors recommend the 4 C’s when injured by fireworks: cool burn, clean, cover, and call doctor. The burn should be cooled with water, cleaned with soap and water, wrapped up, and pressed in case of bleeding.

Now that the effects of the global pandemic in the country are easing compared to the last two years, experts are hopeful of less firework-related injuries this summer. This, of course, does not make safety any less important.