Metro nurses seeing more severe fireworks injuries during Fourth of July

OLATHE, Kan. -- Fireworks are a big part of the American 4th of July tradition, but some explosives have become more powerful in recent years.

Both firefighters and medical professionals are urging folks to leave the exploding celebrations to professionals.

Many places around the metro, including Olathe, have an outright ban on the possession, sale or use of any fireworks.

Parents often give a simple item, like a sparkler, to young children because they're pretty. But that poses a big danger.

Many don't realize that sparklers burn at temperatures up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. That's hotter than lava and will burn flesh in less than a second, as the fire department demonstrated using a hot dog.

Nurses working in the burn unit of the University of Kansas Hospital said they treated 25 people last year alone during the holiday week, who originally came into the emergency room.

"I think the injuries are probably getting more severe over the last few years," Eric Westervelt said, a registered nurse in the University of Kansas burn center. "We’ve seen more injuries to the hands that actually have amputations or severe deformities to them. They require surgery and a long, long recovery."

Westervelt said burn injuries heal slowly and are quite painful.

In Olathe, anyone found to have fireworks faces a fine of between $50 and $500. The fire department also doesn't want people reporting illegal fireworks on social media. If you're concerned about it, you need to call 911.

To see a spectacular show where professionals use extensive safety measures, CLICK HERE.

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