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First responders urging safe firework practice this 4th of July

The Fourth of July is a week from today and fireworks stands are busy. Pocatello first responders are urging residents to use safe fireworks practices. Emergency medical centers are often flooded with burn patients from unsafe use of fireworks.

“Sparklers that are relatively benign burn at incredibly high temperatures, and you think a kid, they don’t understand that,” Pocatello Fire Department Chief David Gates said.

They mostly cause burns on the hands, but sparklers can reach temperatures of more than 1,500 degrees. Every year, emergency rooms are flooded across the country from firework injuries. In 2017, 13,000 people were injured by fireworks. Two-thirds of the injuries occur during the week before and the week after July Fourth.

“They’re really not toys. There’s a reason why the state of Idaho outlawed the non safe-insane areal… They’re dangerous, and they pose a public risk,” Gates said.

Injuries are inevitable this time of year. That’s why the Pocatello Police Department is gearing up for the holiday with more emergency responders out in the community. However, fireworks injuries that happen outside of Bannock County will be taken to Portneuf Medical Center.

“Fireworks have the potential to not only cause burns but cause blast injuries to hands, injuries to the face, injuries to eyes,” said Dr. Drew McRoberts, trauma director for the Portneuf Medical Center.

McRoberts has seen all kinds of injuries from fireworks. He says “blast-injuries” are the most severe.

“The classic M-80, that’s more likely to cause deep tissue damage. We’ll definitely see those… because at some point, someone will injure their hand.”

Though many fireworks that are found in grocery store parking lots are legal, they still pose a risk.

For more safety tips, you can visit the American Society for Surgery of the Hand by clicking HERE.

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