FCEP/ACEP July 4th Safety Tips: Leave Fireworks to the Professionals, Avoid Large Crowds
ORLANDO, FL —With the Fourth of July approaching and communities across the country still battling COVID-19, the Florida College of Emergency Physicians (FCEP) joins with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) in urging everyone to stay safe and take precautions with large gatherings and firework celebrations, but not to hesitate to go to the ER if you have an emergency.
There are more than 9,000 firework-related emergencies annually and more than a third (36 percent) of those involve children under the age of 15. It’s no surprise that about two-thirds of firework injuries happen around this time of year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
FCEP President, Kristin McCabe-Kline, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, ACHE is making a request of Florida residents and visitors - “Given the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Florida, emergency medicine physicians across the state are asking Floridians and visitors to strictly observe 6-foot social distancing, utilize masks covering the nose and mouth when interacting with others, avoid touching the face, and to continue diligent hand hygiene. While the 4th of July has historically been a time to gather with friends and family in celebration of the United States of America, now is the time for us to count our blessings from a distance to keep each other safe. We remain on duty in the Emergency Department 24/7/365 for you, please stay safe for us.”
“Each year, emergency physicians see an influx of people coming into the ER with avoidable fireworks injuries,” said William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). “When it comes to using fireworks to cap off your Independence celebration, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.”
If you are using your own fireworks, ACEP encourages you to follow these firework safety tips to limit your risk of serious burn or injury:
Make sure you buy fireworks, sparklers or other flammable items from reputable, legal sellers.
Keep a fire extinguisher and large bucket of water or hose nearby.
Light one at a time and keep everything flammable away from children. This includes sparklers, which can burn hot enough to melt metal and cause serious burns or injuries.
Never try to re-light or handle fireworks that malfunction or don’t go off.
Do not ignite fireworks in containers, that could create dangerous shrapnel.
Avoid horseplay with or near fireworks, torches, candles or any flammable items; don’t point fireworks at people or launch them toward anyone.
When lighting a firework do not stand directly over it. Back up immediately after it is lit.
After use, spray fireworks with water until soaked. Placing dry fireworks in a trash can creates a fire hazard.
The ongoing pandemic adds another layer of concern to this year’s celebrations. Given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still urges people to social distance with six feet or more between people, it’s prudent to choose outdoor activities with small groups rather than indoor gatherings with larger crowds. You may want to rethink typical summer activities like potlucks and cookouts to limit the number of people handling or serving food. You should also continue to wear a mask when in public space, and wash your hands frequently throughout the day.
“The pandemic continues to create a ‘new normal’ for all of us,” said Dr. Jaquis. “Your Fourth of July festivities might look a little different this year, but we can’t ignore the very real threat that the virus still poses.”
Whether you are concerned you have COVID-19 or are having another medical emergency, emergency physicians stand ready—any day, any time—to provide emergency care and treatment when you need it.
About: The Florida College of Emergency Physicians is a statewide medical specialty organization representing over 2,000 emergency physicians who care for more than 10 million patients in Florida’s emergency departments every year. FCEP is a state chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and is led by a board of 20 member physicians. Learn more at emlrc.org.
Florida College of Emergency Physicians (FCEP)
3717 S. Conway Rd., Orlando, FL 32812 | fcep.org