Experts fear spike in injuries since canceled fireworks shows are leading to increased sales

A majority of the area’s July 4th fireworks shows have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 6:10 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A majority of the area’s July 4th fireworks shows have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many people are going to try to make up for that with their own fireworks shows at their homes. Doctors and people selling fireworks want to warn people to be careful, especially people using fireworks for the first time.

James Morris was out shopping at Shaboom fireworks off of State Street and Daisy Lane in New Albany on Wednesday.

“Going to have a 4th of July party,” he said.

Shaboom employees said they want people to stay safe. Managers there said they have been busy this year, adding that sales are up by 40 percent. Shaboom even set up shop days before it normally does because of the increase in demand this year.

Morris said he’s been setting off fireworks for years and is always careful. Dr. Matthew Bozeman, a UofL trauma surgeon, said he’s already seen people coming in with injuries.

“People have been lighting fireworks since March and April since they have been stuck inside,” Bozeman said. “We have seen a couple in the outpatient setting with burns to hands and upper extremities.”

A lot of the injuries from fireworks are to the hands, eyes, face, and legs. Even sparklers can be dangerous, Bozeman said.

”Sparklers can burn at 1,200 at 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt metal,” he said. “It can permanently disfigure you. You won’t look like the person you used to be, no matter how good our plastic surgeons are.”

Or worse, you can die.

”In 2017, there were 8 people nationwide that were killed by fireworks,” Dr. Bozeman said. “Since I’ve been here, I started in 2008, we’ve had at least two that I can remember that died from being struck by fireworks.”

Bozeman said you need to buy your fireworks from a reputable seller and read the labels.

“Never handle them after you light them,” he said. “You can’t trust the fuses on most of these fireworks that say you will have five or six seconds to get away from it.”

Back away quickly when you light them and always have a bucket of water or water hose available if a fire breaks out. You should never handle fireworks if you are impaired. If you do get hurt, you need to stop the burning process, control the bleeding and get help.

Click here for more information on fireworks safety.

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