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Popping fireworks? How to enjoy 4th of July without a visit to the burn unit

"Some of these injuries are permanent, it can be lifelong problems."
Burn Center sign at Our Lady of Lourdes
Posted at 8:46 AM, Jul 03, 2024

LAFAYETTE, La. — Fireworks are a popular way to celebrate the 4th of July with family and friends, but before lighting them up, here are some safety tips to prevent emergencies.

Unfortunately, Lily Marie Chautin experienced the dangers firsthand. She suffered a severe burn from a firework, requiring two surgeries and a skin graft to replace the damaged skin on her neck with skin from her leg.

"It was like right after New Year's, and we were finishing up the fireworks, and it flipped, and it got stuck on my jacket and blew up, and I had to go to the hospital," Chautin said.

As dazzling as fireworks can be—they can also be extremely dangerous; last year, eight people died, with 9,700 being injured in incidents involving fireworks. According to US Consumer Product Safety Commission, most injuries happen to people younger than 20 years old.

Here are some quick tips to keep you prepared in case of a firework malfunction:

  • Light fireworks in an open space and avoid grass or uneven ground
  • Keep a bucket of cool water nearby in case of burn
  • Staying sober when handling fireworks

KATC stopped by Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center Burn Center and spoke with Rachel Stutes, a physician assistant, about the dangers these sparkly explosives can pose.

"Some of these injuries are permanent, and they can be lifelong problems, especially with the hands, eyes, or face," said Rachel Stutes, a physician assistant at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center Burn Center. "So making sure you are doing things safely when popping fireworks is super important, and never let kids do fireworks."