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For release: June 27, 2013

Kelly Ward-Smith 330.344.1681,

Ensuring a Safe Fourth of July Celebration

MEDIA NOTE: Carol Cunningham, MD, Emergency Medicine Physician at Akron General Health System is available for interviews.

Fireworks on the Fourth of July are as American as apple pie. Carol Cunningham, MD, Emergency Medicine Physician at Akron General Health System urges using common sense when it comes to handling fireworks to celebrate our country’s birthday.

On average, about 200 people every day go to the emergency department with fireworks-related injuries around the 4th of July holiday, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Most of injuries involve burns. For example, a sparkler can burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit — which is as hot as a blow torch.

Almost half (46 percent) of fireworks injuries are to a person's hands or fingers. One-third (34 percent) of them are to a person's eyes, head, face and ears (CPSC).

If fireworks are legal in your community, The American Academy of Emergency Physicians strongly suggests that you do not use fireworks at your home. If you do use them, however, these do's and don'ts will help make it a safer experience.
  • DO — Have knowledgeable supervision by an experienced adult if you choose to use fireworks.
  • DO — Buy fireworks from reputable dealers.
  • DO — Read warning labels and follow all instructions.
  • DO — Keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher on hand.
  • DO — Light fireworks one at a time.
  • DO — Dispose of all fireworks properly.
  • DON'T — Give any fireworks, including sparklers, to small children; older children should be supervised by a responsible adult.
  • DON'T — Light fireworks indoors or near other objects.
  • DON'T — Place your body over a fireworks device when trying to light the fuse and immediately back up to a safe distance after you light it.
  • DON'T — Point or throw fireworks at another person, ever.
  • DON'T — Try to re-light or pick up fireworks have not ignited fully.
  • DON'T — Wear loose clothing while using any fireworks.
  • DON'T — Set off fireworks in glass or metal containers — the fragments can cause severe injury.
  • DON'T — Carry fireworks in a pocket.
  • DON'T — Try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.

"The safest and only thing you should do is watch a professional fireworks display managed by experts who have proper training and experience handling these explosives," says Dr. Cunningham.

About Akron General Health System
Akron General Health System is a not-for-profit health care organization with the mission of improving the health and lives of the people and communities it serves. Akron General Health System includes: Akron General Medical Center, a 532-registered-bed teaching and research medical center, and Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Institute, the area’s largest provider of rehabilitation services; Akron General Partners, which includes Partners Physician Group, the Akron General Health & Wellness Centers, Lodi Community Hospital, Community Health Centers and other companies; Akron General Community Health Ventures, which includes Visiting Nurse Service and Affiliates, the largest and most comprehensive provider of home healthcare services in Ohio; and Akron General Foundation. Recently, U.S. News & World Report ranked Akron General Medical Center as the seventh best hospital in Ohio. In 2013, the American Nurses Association bestowed the prestigious “Magnet” status on the more that 1,000 nurses from Akron General Medical Center, Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Institute and the Health System’s Health & Wellness Centers. For more information about Akron General Health System, visit

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