DANIA BEACH, Fla. – People are lined up outside a store that sells fireworks, ready to buy them. Of course, they would likely have just gone to see a show in their local neighborhood in most years, but this year, because of COVID-19, more people are buying their own fireworks displays. medical experts are expecting more injuries than ever.
“The most common injuries we see this time of year are injuries to the eyes, your face, and your hands,” said Luis Derosa.
Derosa spent years as a nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he worked in both the trauma center and burn units, treating some of the most serious cases Miami-Dade County encounters.
He says that July 4th is one of the busiest holidays of the year in burn units and emergency rooms. But this year, because of social distancing and crowd limitations due to the coronavirus, Derosa expects the number of injuries to be even higher.
"People are going to be buying professional fireworks, displaying these fireworks at home, by themselves, nobody's trained, and hopefully the public can take some safety precautions so they can prevent themselves getting injured, their loved ones, their children, their family, their neighbors."
DeRosa has a few suggestions.
- No drinking of alcohol and lighting fireworks. If you are the one planning to do the display, it’s best to stay sober.
- Designate just one area to set off the fireworks. Make sure everyone watching is a safe distance away.
- Don't let kids or teens light fireworks on their own and keep them out of reach.
- If it doesn’t light the first time, don’t try it again.
Even if the fireworks purchased aren't giant displays, DeRosa said there's no such thing as safe fireworks.
"There's an assumption, a myth that these kinds of fireworks that you can buy at the dollar store or your local supermarket are safe. They're not. They all burn very, very hot. They can cause significant damage to the skin which will give you a trip to the burn center."
There is also a misconception about sparklers, but Derosa said these burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to do some serious damage.
Derosa suggests keeping a water source close by, even a bucket of water can come in handy, just in case.
“If somebody does get burned or they get firework on their face, their hands, their body, their clothes catch fire, right there you’ve got a bucket of water or a source of water where you can stop that burning process.”