Thousands hurt by fireworks every 4th of July weekend

4th of July

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Fourth of July is a holiday for many to get out on the lakes, light up the grills and shoot off fireworks with family and friends.

However, doctors and medical professionals say one small accident can be life-changing.

At Cheyenne Waugh’s fireworks stand in Williamson County, she says selling safety is as important as selling the explosives.

“Everyone has fun shooting off explosives but you need to practice safety or else someone can get really hurt,” Waugh said.

Each year, thousands of people, including children, are hurt.

“From the firework, you want a 75 degree circumference for each inch of tube,” explained Waugh.

That means if you are using a firework with a three inch tube, you want 225 feet from you to the firework.

“There is a lot of force shooting up them going to 100, 200, 300 feet in the air,” Waugh said.

This time of year, doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center treat plenty of burns and other injuries to hands and faces.

“The louder and bigger they are, the more of an explosive device they are, they are a mini bomb,” said Dr. Corey Slovis.

However, a lot of times the injuries are caused by carelessness.

“Whenever we see these injuries, they are usually in younger, previously healthy people who now have their life suddenly changed,” Dr. Slovis said.

Many times, fireworks land in the hands of the wrong people or are manufactured the wrong way.

“Professional fireworks can kill a person easily,” said Jack Webb with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Webb said backyard fireworks are just as dangerous as professional ones.

“Some fireworks are considered explosive material,” Webb said.

No one, including professionals, should take their power lightly.

“You can be burned, there can be an explosion that can cause injuries to your eyes, blunt force trauma to anywhere on your body.”

That is something Waugh tells each and every customer at her tent.

“We want everyone to have a good time, have fun and be safe,” she said.

In Middle Tennessee, many cities have banned fireworks.

Check with your local ordinances before using them this Fourth of July holiday.

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