Local News

July 3, 2014

Tips for a safe Fourth July

OSKALOOSA — The July 4th holiday is fast approaching and there are some important safety tips that everyone should know before handling fireworks.

Andrea Hagist, who works in the emergency department at Mahaska Health Partnership, said the most common injuries that she sees are burns and eye injuries. She said it is possible that there could be some isolated cases of more life-threatening injuries, but she implied that was rare. Note, Iowa is one of several states that bans the use of fireworks.

“Always use fireworks that fall within the Iowa laws, which should only consist of sparklers and snakes. They are types of fireworks. If you have a child that will typically use sparklers, make sure they hold it at arms length away so that it reduces the risk of a hot spark falling on cloths and catching on fire, or burning the skin,” Hagist said.

She said that if you plan on using sparklers, ensure there is a bucket filled with cold water nearby to put out the fire to avoid potential problems. Hagist also explained people find other ways to bring fireworks in town illegally.

“When you get into the larger fireworks that are not legal … Most fireworks in Iowa are not legal, with the exception of sparklers and snakes, but our neighbors to the south, Missouri, get fireworks and bring them to Iowa,” Hagist said.

She added that when you bring an M80, which is a specific type of firework, those could be linked to more serious injuries. With stronger fireworks, you increase the risk of injury if not properly trained to handle them. It is recommended the professionals handle them.

“It could blow off your thumbs or fingers. The worst case scenario that I have seen is loss of a digit (finger on hand),” Hagist said.

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