South Georgia hospitals say New Year's Eve is often one of their busiest nights. And Firefighters say they will also be ready for an increased risk of fire danger, because they know people will be using sparklers and fireworks to ring in the New Year. That fun can lead to emergency room visits too often.
July the Fourth is a much bigger day for people to light sparklers or fireworks than New Year's Eve, but experts say tonight the chance of injuries from those products is greatly increased, because people are more likely to mix alcohol and fireworks.
Sparklers are legal in Georgia because they are thought to be safer than fireworks. But Emergency Room Doctors say they have seen many injuries from them.
Phoebe Putney Hospital Emergency Room Physician Doctor James Black said "It's much more dangerous than we really think. Even something as pretty as sparklers can burn at more than 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Which is certainly hot enough to cause injury to adults and to children."
Many South Georgians will bring exploding fireworks from other states, and emergency room doctors say they see too often the results of what they can do to people.
40:52 Dr. Black said "The majority of them are third degree burns. We also have injuries to eyes. Lacerations from fireworks exploding, hitting people. So we get some pretty serious injuries."
The National Fire Protection Association reports that in 2010 more than 8600 people required emergency room treatment for fireworks related injuries. The highest risk was to children from ages 5 to 14.
Firefighters say even the sparkers are significant fire dangers.
Albany Fire Department Investigator Sam Harris said "The problem is when you throw them down they are still burning. Once you have an ash there. And it will cause a grass fire or cause pine straw to catch on fire."
Doctors and Firefighters urge parents to supervise their children using sparkers or fireworks. And if you do use fireworks not to try to re-light them if they don't explode.
It would seem to be just common sense, but firefighters remind you not to use sparklers indoors. It's going to be cold tonight, and they say people will do it. In fact in 2010 fireworks caused an estimated 15, 500 fires, resulting in 8 deaths.
Firefighters urge you to wear long sleeves when you burn sparklers, but make it proper type clothing that will not easily catch fire. Also you might keep a bucket of water or sand handy just in case of fire.