Local medical leader stresses importance of safe July 4 celebrations

PLANTATION, FLA. (WSVN) - July 4 celebrations across South Florida will feature many celebrations from home this year.

Days away from Independence Day, one South Florida doctor is issuing words of warning.

Dr.  Robert Larsen, an emergency medicine specialist, said, “This is a time when everybody’s out to have a good time. But they’re dealing with dangerous fireworks, and children typically get involved, unfortunately.”

Over 10,000 people were treated around the country for firework injuries last year, including a dozen deaths.

Larsen said, “Typically what we see here involves hands. Fortunately for us in Plantation, we have hand surgeons, but unfortunately, it’s typically someone grabbing a firework that hasn’t ignited, and they usually end up losing fingers.”

Many people are buying their own fireworks as a result of the cancellations of Fourth of July celebrations.

Larsen said, “COVID just complicates everything. We’re seeing a lot of new COVID cases, and now people are getting together for the Fourth of July. We can expect to see more cases, and now they’re going to be intermingled with the firework accidents.”

Larsen outlined some safety guidelines for those purchasing fireworks.

Larsen said, “First, I would make sure the fireworks that you buy are legal, make sure they are legal in the area you’re going to be using them. Second, don’t allow any children to play with or ignite fireworks. Always have adult supervision nearby. Third, have a bucket of water or hose to put out any fireworks after they’re spent. Fourth, never pick up or try to re-light a firework that doesn’t defuse itself.”

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