Living Well

Sparklers, stars, and stripes, oh my!

Robert Chugden, MD
Sparklers, stars, and stripes, oh my!

We know you’re excited to celebrate our beloved stars and stripes this 4th of July, but we want you to celebrate in the safest way possible! Here are 10 firework safety tips for you to consider before lighting that first firecracker.

1. Supervision is key
Fireworks can be very exciting to watch and light, but unsupervised activity with fireworks can lead to major accidents such as burns, or more severe injuries.

2. Light ‘em up
When using fireworks, always be cautious. Never hold fireworks in your hands while lighting them and always wear protective eyewear if you’re the one holding the matches. Only light one at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.

3. No horsing around
Playing around and being careless around fireworks can lead to major accidents. Always be mindful of those around you. Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.

4. Make sure they’re legal
Before using, you may want to research if fireworks are even legal in your area. Some subdivisions or neighborhoods do not allow certain fireworks (or in some cases any fireworks at all) due to safety concerns.

5. Keep a close eye
All children should be supervised when around fire of any kind. Never allow young children to handle fireworks.

6. Keep it casual
Loose clothing can easily catch on fire. Try to stay away from loose and flowy clothing like dresses, skirts, cardigans, and scarves. Go for some jeans and a t-shirt instead.

7. Keep ‘em outside
Fireworks can be a very dangerous fire hazard and should never be used indoors. Only light them outside in a safe, contained area.

8. The sky’s the limit
Be mindful of where you are pointing fireworks. You should never point them in the direction of houses, cars, the ground, or especially people.

9. Hit the pavement
Only use fireworks on a hard, flat surface such as a driveway or sidewalk. Avoid dry grass or foliage as it can catch on fire quickly.

10. Water, water everywhere
Keep a bucket of water nearby or a hose with a quick-release nozzle to soak used fireworks or duds, and to extinguish a fire should one start.

In the case of a firework emergency, you can count on the West Jefferson Medical Center emergency room staff for personalized care. We’ll work harder to quickly get you back to the things you love to do – like that 4th of July picnic with your family you’ve been looking forward to!

About Dr. Robert Chugden, Chief Medical Officer:

As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Chugden ensures patients receive the highest quality treatment possible by hiring, evaluating and training new physicians. He works closely with physicians, nurses and staff to create and enforce clinical guidelines that help make the Medical Center’s healthcare delivery run smoothly, and he acts as a liaison between the medical staff and the hospital’s executives. For more than 30 years, Dr. Chudgen, board-certified in emergency medicine, has served as an ER physician for West Jefferson Medical Center and as the ER’s Medical Director for 18 years. In addition, he has held various positions with the hospital’s medical committees. Prior to joining West Jefferson, Dr. Chugden was an ER physician at Charity Hospital, St. Jude Medical Center and Hotel Dieu Hospital. He also served as clinical assistant professor of medicine at LSU School of Medicine. Dr. Chugden received his medical degree from LSU and completed his general surgeon residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.