Resolve to Safely Celebrate the New Year

Celebrate good times safely this New Year’s Eve by being proactive in burn prevention

Published online: Dec 30, 2020 Articles, East Idaho Health
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IDAHO FALLS -- Though countries around the world celebrate the new year with gatherings and public performances, if fire and pyrotechnics are not handled properly, a night of festivities can result in serious injuries. Dr. Tait Olaveson, medical director of Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, ID, believes using sound judgment and a pinch of precaution when around open flames or fireworks can help people stay safe while having fun.

“Being safe doesn’t mean sacrificing fun,” said Dr. Olaveson. “In fact, understanding associated risks and taking precautions keeps the fun going by reducing the chances of someone getting injured.”

Parties and gatherings can be chaotic, especially if children are present or alcohol is involved. It is always best for a sober adult who is seasoned in discharging fireworks to handle them and for children to be kept out of the launch area.

“Buying and firing off fireworks yourself is dangerous and, if done improperly, can result in injury or fire damage. It’s best to keep a safe distance from the launch area and avoid mishandling the fireworks, which is why attending a socially distanced professional display is one of the safest and most stress-free options for viewing fireworks,” he said.

Dr. Olaveson recommends the following tips when using any kind of pyrotechnics:

·         Ensure a fire extinguisher, hose, or bucket of water is nearby.

·         Make sure the “shooter” is not wearing loose clothing that could ignite and follows all directions on the fireworks label.

·         If the device does not have a warning and/or instructions label, do not fire it.

·         Light fireworks one at a time.

·         Never throw fireworks. A malfunctioning fuse could cause the item to go off in your hand.

·         Never light fireworks held in someone’s hand.

·         Never stand over an item that does not fire. Do not try to relight it. Pour water on it.

·         Never use fireworks of any kind indoors.

·         Immediately call 911 to report any accidents.

Sparklers are a child’s staple when it comes to fireworks, yet some of them can burn at nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, about the same temperature as lava.

“Sparklers are still fireworks and I think we forget that. I think we forget that they’re burn and fire hazards from the sparks down to the metal sticks,” said Dr. Olaveson. “If the kids are allowed to have sparklers, be sure to take the metal stick from them after it goes out. The metal stick can remain hot for a while and can pose a serious burn risk.”

Be extra careful when handling sparklers and consider using the following tips to help steer clear of burns:

·         Never light more than one at a time.

·         Never light one in your child’s hand.

·         Make sure children keep the sparklers away from others and flammable materials.

·         Make sure the sparkler is kept a proper distance from their bodies to avoid burns or clothes catching on fire.

·         When they are done, stick the used sparklers in a bucket of sand or water.

·         Choose bamboo stick sparklers if you can.

·         Remember that fireworks, especially sparklers and smaller items that stay on the ground, are still very hot, and therefore dangerous, after they have been used.

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