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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Westchester Medical Center Health Network Encourages Safe Celebrations this Fourth of July Holiday

Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks often go hand in hand, but fireworks – especially those that are illegal – can be extremely dangerous and can cause serious injuries.

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Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks often go hand in hand, but fireworks – especially those that are illegal – can be extremely dangerous and can cause serious injuries. Each year, thousands of adults and children are treated at hospitals across the United States for serious burns, amputations, and other significant injuries resulting from the use of fireworks.

The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) encourages all residents to leave the fireworks to the professionals this Fourth of July and adhere to New York State fireworks safety laws. In many areas of New York State, including New York City and Westchester County, it is illegal to possess, sell or purchase consumer fireworks.

“Fireworks are the cause of many avoidable injuries that we see in the emergency department, especially in the month surrounding the Fourth of July. Fireworks can fly into the face of a user or bystander and cause an eye injury, ignite clothing or cause serious burns,” said Ivan Miller, MD, Director of Emergency Medicine at Westchester Medical Center, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and MidHudson Regional Hospital, all members of WMCHealth. “Burns make up more than half of fireworks-related injuries and are the most common fireworks-related injuries - more - - 2 - sustained to all parts of the body except the eyes, where contusions, lacerations and injuries from foreign objects are more frequent.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that in 2016, more than 11,000 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in emergency departments across the United States. Injuries to children and young adults under age 20 made up almost 40 percent of emergency department-treated fireworks injuries. Some counties in New York State, such as Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster, Sullivan and Rockland Counties, legalized the use of sparklers for people over the age of 18 in recent years. While legal in some areas, these fireworks have the capability to burn at temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees and can cause serious burns to adults and children. All fireworks, including sparklers, are still illegal in Westchester County and New York City.

To help residents celebrate the Fourth of July safely this year, Dr. Miller encourages everyone to leave the fireworks to the professionals. Many communities in the region host fireworks displays that are controlled by licensed pyrotechnical experts and open to the public to provide a safe and fun way to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday. Check with your local town hall, municipality, or your local newspaper to find scheduled fireworks displays in your area.

About Westchester Medical Center Health Network

The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with 10 hospitals on eight campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 12,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. From Level 1, Level 2 and Pediatric Trauma Centers, the region’s only acute care children’s hospital, an academic medical center, several community hospitals, dozens of specialized institutes and centers, skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, homecare services and one of the largest mental health systems in New York State, today WMCHealth is the pre-eminent provider of integrated healthcare in the Hudson Valley. For more information about WMCHealth, visit www.WMCHealth.org.