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Firework tips to safely celebrate your 4th of July weekend in Arkansas

Over the past couple of years, UAMS doctors have seen a record number of hand injuries due to fireworks gone wrong.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — We are just days away from the Fourth of July which means parades, barbecues, and of course, fireworks!

Over the past couple of years, UAMS doctors have seen a record number of hand injuries due to fireworks gone wrong. 

Dr. Theresa Wyrick said they are injuries that range from burns all the way to amputations.

"The Fourth of July weekend is always busy for the hand surgeon on-call," she said. 

While it's a day off and time to celebrate for many, orthopedic surgeons, like Dr. Wyrick, are taking care of patient after patient.

"We've kind of had an interesting last couple of years where we've definitely seen a significant uptick in the number of injuries we have related to fireworks," she said. 

Over the past two Fourth of July weekends at UAMS, Wyrick said they performed between 15 to 20 emergency hand surgeries.

"Mainly we'll see things like loss of a finger, loss of a hand, devastating sort of open fractures, amputations," she said.

Wyrick believes last year's increase in patients was because there were no big firework shows for people to go to, so they were setting off their own displays. 

"It's just one of those things that I think it's a recipe for injuries to be created," she said.

Captain Jason Weaver, with the Little Rock Fire Department, said majority of the firework accidents that require medical attention are burns. At least 25% of those caused by sparklers.

"Sparklers burn an excess of 1,200 degrees, so they can burn really quick and really deep in no time," he said.

Within the city of Little Rock, setting off fireworks is illegal and police will confiscate them from you. 

If you're in a city where fireworks are allowed, Weaver said to make sure you supervise whoever is setting off the fireworks, set them off on a flat and non-flammable area, and don't try to relight a malfunctioning firework. 

"Just be safe and be aware of the heat," he said.

Report any firework violations in the city of Little Rock to LRPDFireworksviolation@littlerock.gov. 

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