Thursday, July 03, 2014


Follow safety precautions this Fourth of July

Nothing says “celebration” like fireworks on the Fourth of July.  It’s one summer event that people of every age look forward to each year.  Many communities host fireworks displays, open to the public, conducted by trained professionals.  The chaos and crowds are all part of the excitement.

I was talking about summer activities with my friend and colleague Jill Schaff, RN, Backus Trauma Program Coordinator.  She mentioned how she dreads the inevitable stream of people with traumatic injuries that will present in the Emergency Department around the Fourth of July.  

Most of them, usually children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, consumer fireworks include sparklers and firecrackers.  The tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause third-degree burns.  To put this in perspective, water boils at 212 degrees, cakes bake at 350 degrees and glass melts at 900 degrees. 

Few people understand the associated risks of consumer fireworks — devastating burns, other injuries like finger amputations, fires and even death. Despite the dangers, they are not illegal. 

Well, now that’s the bad news.  The good news is we can all still enjoy the holiday by leaving fireworks to the professionals. 

Call your local town hall to inquire if and when a public fireworks display is scheduled. For those in the Norwich area, the July 4 Extravaganza 2014 will be held at the Marina at American Wharf, 1 American Way, on Saturday, July 5, from 7-10 p.m.  Family fun and children’s activities will include bounce houses, face painting, local bands, food vendors and most important of all, a huge fireworks display. 

Now that’s a celebration. Wishing a happy and safe Fourth of July to all! 

Alice Facente is a community health nurse for the Backus Health System. This advice should not replace the advice of your personal healthcare provider. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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