Explosion Injury Underscores Need for Fireworks Safety

By John Mc Carty

EMS Manager

Sierra Vista Hospital

This week, at Elephant Butte State Park ,a young man was on the beach when he set off a 60 gram Diablo fireworks shell designed to launch 200-plus feet in the air and make a large aerial display. Instead, the shell fired into his upper leg and 911 was called.

Emergency crews from Elephant Butte and Lakeshore fire departments, Sierra Vista Hospital EMS and New Mexico State Park rangers responded to find the unexploded aerial device was buried in the patient’s upper leg. SVH Paramedics transported the injured man to the hospital, where Doctor Jon Brown removed the device in an emergency surgery.

Follow these safety tips when using fireworks:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.


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