Fireworks safety reminders as holiday weekend nears

The 4th of July weekend is one of the best in the summer. But as always, health and safety officials are urging for caution with fireworks this weekend.
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 5:03 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The 4th of July weekend is one of the best in the summer. But as always, health and safety officials are urging for caution with fireworks this weekend.

The 4th of July weekend is always a busy time for emergency rooms in Sioux Falls. Sanford Health Physician Dr. Abigail Polzin said while most injuries they see are small, they aren’t immune to having to deal with major ones as well.

“With fireworks, we’ll see everything from eye burns, especially with sparklers and children running around. Sometimes minor burns we’ll see. Every year, we’ll see between three to six major fireworks injuries, which can range from major hand injuries with blown-off fingers needing specialty surgery. To skull fractures, to chest swell injuries.” Polzin said.

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Fire Inspector Tyler Tjeerdsma said residents of Sioux Falls should remember that most fireworks are not legal within city limits anyways, and should avoid using those.

“Within the city limits of Sioux Falls, you’re not allowed to shoot any firework that goes up in the air or makes a noise. So you can stick to your basic snaps and snakes, things like that.”

Tjeerdsma said if you’re going to use those fireworks available or go outside the city, to remember that fires can start from any small spark or heat source.

“Use situational awareness before you’re going to shoot those fireworks off. Just take a second, take a look around at what’s around you. Is there any combustible materials, dry leaves, or dry grass? How close are you to buildings, things like that?” Tjeerdsma said.

Polzin said what always makes things worse is the use of alcohol or drugs around fireworks. She said often, those major injuries they see have some combination of unsafe fireworks use and other substances.

“Keeping alcohol away from firework use is a huge one. Our major traumas, over a third of those patients, are going to have some sort of alcohol or drug use along with their injuries.” Polzin said.

Polzin said alcohol and drug use can cause a number of accidents over the weekend as well, not just fireworks.

“Whether that be car collisions, boating accidents, firearm injuries, firework injuries. Or even just simple falls.” Polzin said.

Tjeerdsma said a lot of their calls of the 4th of July weekend come from improper disposal of fireworks. He said after fireworks have been used, to leave them in a bucket filled with water outside instead of putting them in the trash right away. That way, they have a chance to cool down before throwing them away.

Fire and firework safety tips

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