Don’t let poor safety take the fun out of fireworks this July 4th!

03 July 2024- July 4th can be one of the best times of year not just for adults but young people, as well. While this time of year can seem great, it is important to remember that all the fun of the outdoors and summertime (the swimming, biking, grilling, fireworks, and more) can quickly be turned on its head.

“We want to wish a happy and healthy Fourth to all,” shared Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health Sherri A. Young, DO, MBA, FAAFP. “As we come together to commemorate the foundation of our country, we want to help guarantee that safety is at the forefront of all our holiday activities.”

“While we celebrate our nation’s independence, it’s crucial to prioritize safety,” said Cynthia Persily, Ph.D., Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Human Services. “By reminding West Virginians of a few simple safety guidelines, we can ensure a joyful and accident-free holiday for everyone.”

While fireworks are a Fourth of July staple, they are the leading cause of the holiday’s accidents. The most commonly injured body parts by fireworks are the hands and fingers, followed closely by the head and legs.

Some tips to stay safe when lighting or watching fireworks include:

  • Wear safety goggles
  • Light fireworks outside one a time
  • Do not stand near fireworks after lighting
  • Do not hold fireworks or firecrackers close to your body
  • Follow all instructions on packaging 
  • Follow local laws
  • Wear eye protection
  • Keep a water supply close by
  • Supervise children
  • Never relight a “dud” firework 

Additional holiday safety measures include wearing and reapplying sunscreen, staying hydrated when outside, refraining from operating any machinery or vehicles if consuming alcohol, and practicing water safety. Water safety includes supervising all swimmers, wearing a lifejacket, choosing swimwear that can be detected underwater (bright reds, oranges, yellows, and greens are best), and learning CPR. 

Staying prepared and taking precautions are the best ways to stay safe while enjoying time with friends and family. If you do find yourself in the middle of a health emergency, seek medical attention immediately by calling 911. 

While State offices and county DoHS offices are closed for the Independence Day holiday, help is still available 24/7. For suspected cases of abuse and neglect, call the Centralized Intake for Abuse and Neglect at 1-800-352-6513. For emergencies, call 911.