Fireworks: ‘Leave Them to the Professionals’

By: Kenisha Wilson and Stephanie Stanley

Summer is synonymous with parades and fireworks displays. With the passing of PA House Bill 542 in October 2017, which made certain fireworks legal to purchase in Pennsylvania, UPMC Mercy Burn Center officials are expecting an increase in the number of injuries this year.

Recently, the UPMC Mercy Burn Center and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Bomb Squad came together to stress the dangers of personal firework usage.

The bomb squad conducted a demonstration that included placing confiscated homemade fireworks into apples and melons.

“We see serious fireworks injuries every year, especially around the 4th of July holiday. These completely preventable injuries include loss of vision or limbs—specifically fingers and hands,” said Jenny Ziembicki, M.D., medical director, UPMC Mercy Burn Center. “Our message is simple. The public should leave the fireworks to the professionals!”


Summer is synonymous with parades and fireworks displays. With the passing of PA House Bill 542 in October 2017, which made certain fireworks legal to purchase in Pennsylvania, UPMC Mercy Burn Center officials are expecting an increase in the number of injuries this year. Recently, the burn center and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Bomb Squad came together to stress the dangers of personal firework usage. The bomb squad conducted a demonstration that included placing confiscated homemade fireworks into apples and melons. “We see serious fireworks injuries every year, especially around the 4th of July holiday. These completely preventable injuries include loss of vision or limbs—specifically fingers and hands,” said Jenny Ziembicki, M.D., medical director, UPMC Mercy Burn Center. “Our message is simple. The public should leave the fireworks to the professionals!”

The UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Centers’ health care team offers these quick tips:

If you are burned…

DO:

  • Stop the burning process immediately by rinsing with cool, clean water.
  • Wrap the burned area with a dry, clean towel.
  • Seek medical attention immediately.

DO NOT:

  • Use “butter on burns”
  • Break blisters
  • Put ice on a burn
  • Apply ointments to a severe burn

For more information, please call the UPMC Mercy Trauma Services at 412-232-8375.