Be smart and follow these critical fireworks safety guidelines in New Jersey
🔵 How to avoid fireworks dangers and injuries in New Jersey this summer
🔵 The risks and avoidable fireworks situations you need to be aware of
🔵 What to do if an injury happens from a fireworks incident
There will be tons of safe and legal fireworks shows going off this summer across New Jersey and so there shouldn't be any such occurrences in your backyards due to the inherent dangers.
Dr. Harry Kopolovich, M.D., M.B.A, FAAEM, FAEMS, Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, says thousands of people, many of them children and teenagers, get injured around the use of consumer fireworks.
"Despite the dangers of the fireworks, few people understand the associated risks which include devastating burns, other injuries including blast injuries, fires, and even death," Kopolovich said.
He points to a report from U.S. Hospital and Emergency Departments which says that approximately 12,000 people were treated for fireworks related injuries in just 2021 alone, and half of those were burn or blast injuries to arms and legs and to a slightly lesser number to the eyes or head.
Your best and safest bet is to let the professionals handle fireworks shows, but, in the event you are the host of a private event, there are dangers, risks, and safety measures you need to know about.
If someone gets injured in the shooting off of fireworks at home, Dr. Kopolovich says step one is remain as calm as possible and not panic.
"You want to try and take control of the situation as much as possible especially if you have the least bit of medical training," Kopolovich said.
You also need to look out for yourself and everyone else around by ensuring nobody else is in harms way, Kopolovich explains, especially if the firework is still going off.
If a fireworks related injury occurs at home or in another area this summer, and you've secured the scene to make sure everyone else is safe or out of the way, you then call 911 and try and help the victim while awaiting paramedics.
While waiting, Dr. Kopolovich explains that you need to help address the injury as safely and as best as possible.
"If there's an area that's actively bleeding - let's say because of a blast injury and it's of the hand - you want to try applying pressure to the area that's proximal or before that wound," Kopolovich said.
That means grab the forearm area and press on the brachial artery to slow down or stop the bleedind, Kopolovich explains, and you can also try using a tourniquet or a regular belt if you don't have one available.
In the event of a non-professional fireworks related injury this summer that occurs at home or another private setting, there's a few things you need to do while waiting for paramedics/EMT's to arrive at the scene.
If it's a blast injury, Dr. Kopolovich says you should apply pressure by first squeezing the forearm and then applying a tourniquet, but, for a burn injury, there are other methods.
"If the area is burned, try and cool it as much as possible, especially because that's going to be one of the most common injuries that's going to occur with fireworks," Kopolovich said.
He adds that if clothes or jewelry are involved in the burn injury, try to safely remove them, but, if they're stuck on there, just leave it alone and wait for the medical response team.