Nantucket Cottage Hospital Doctor Urges Fireworks Safety Over Fourth Of July Holiday

Nantucket Current •

Fireworks 07 04 2023 10
The 2023 Nantucket fireworks, shot off from a barge off the north shore. Photo by Charity Grace Mofsen

Dr. Steven Kohler, Nantucket Cottage Hospital's medical director for urgent access, is urging island residents to take safety precautions with any fireworks over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. 

“Fireworks are not toys," Kohler said. "They are explosives that make noise, produce light or both. Fireworks are dangerous and can cause serious burns and injuries, particularly to a person’s hands and fingers, face, ears and eyes. Some combustibles have the explosive power of military weapons and the results of use by amateurs can be catastrophic. We strongly recommend against personal use of fireworks, but if you do, please keep the safety of yourself and your loved ones, especially children, at the forefront.”

Dr. Steven Kohler

Kohler and Nantucket Cottage Hospital stated that every year, the emergency departments in the Mass General Brigham system see multiple patients who have sustained significant burns at July 4th celebrations that will produce life-long disfigurement, including devastating hand injuries caused by fireworks that explode in the hands of children and adults.

Kohler offered the following tips to keep celebrations safe this holiday:

• There is no safe approach to using explosives, especially when children are involved. Children often do not understand the destructive potential of fireworks. Explain the risks to your children and limit their access to fireworks.

• Projectiles, commonly known as “bottle rockets” or “Roman candles,” are especially dangerous. They not only place the user at risk but endanger bystanders.

• Light fireworks one at a time, then move back a safe distance quickly. Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse and do not relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.

• Anyone who handles fireworks should wear safety goggles to protect the eyes from flying sparks or debris. Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

• Avoid alcohol and drugs when operating fireworks. Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

• After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with water before discarding it to prevent a trash fire. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other problem.

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