Atrium Health Navicent Encourages Fireworks and Gun Safety for Independence Day Holiday

July 1, 2021

Physicians urge caution in fireworks use and discourage celebratory gunfire


According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 15,600 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2020. Two thirds of those injuries occurred in the weeks immediately before and immediately after the Independence Day holiday.

The most common injuries include burns to the hands and fingers, followed by injuries that involve the head, face, ears and eyes. Fireworks, including sparklers and flares, can cause serious burns as well as blast injuries that can permanently impair vision and hearing.

Physicians at The Medical Center, Navicent Health — Atrium Health Navicent’s nationally-verified Level I Trauma Center — encourage celebrants to protect themselves and their children from firework injuries by following these tips:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Adults should supervise all fireworks activities.
  • Handle and use fireworks in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and all warning labels.
  • Light fireworks on smooth, flat surfaces, and aim them away from buildings, dry leaves, flammable materials and spectators.
  • Do not try to relight fireworks that malfunction.
  • Do not modify fireworks or use homemade fireworks.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then quickly move back.
  • Keep a phone and a bucket of water or fire extinguisher within reach, and know first aid for burns.

“Here at Atrium Health Navicent we take care of numerous fireworks-related injuries every holiday, but more so around July 4th and New Years. Fireworks should not be viewed as toys and are not for children,” said Dr. John Wood, Medical Director of the Emergency Center at The Medical Center, Navicent Health. “When used, safety precautions should be followed such as using eye protection and not lighting fireworks indoors. It is important to never hold a firework while lighting it.”

In the event of an eye injury, seek medical attention immediately.

“Fifteen percent of fireworks injuries are eye injuries,” said Dr. Monali Sakhalkar, an ophthalmologist with Ophthalmology, Navicent Health. “In the most severe cases, fireworks can rupture the globe of the eye, cause chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions and retinal detachment, all of which can cause permanent eye damage or vision loss.”

If your eye is injured due to fireworks, do not rub or rinse the eye. Do not apply pressure or remove objects stuck in the eye. Do not apply ointments or take blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen unless directed by a doctor.

Physicians also urge revelers to avoid firing guns in celebration of the holiday. Bullets returning to the ground due to celebratory gunfire can cause serious injury or death for bystanders. Atrium Health Navicent is participating in the Georgia Stay SAFE campaign, which promotes safe gun storage and the prevention of firearm injuries in children.

“During the holidays, we also see an increase in gun-related injuries. Please follow standard gun safety procedures, do not fire a gun into the air in a celebratory fashion and please keep guns away from children,” Wood said. “Also never mix fireworks or guns with the use of alcohol or drugs.”

If an accident or injury occurs, seek appropriate medical treatment. For emergency situations, call 911 or seek care at the nearest emergency center. Atrium Health Navicent offers emergency care at the following locations:

  • The Medical Center, Navicent Health (770 Pine Street, Macon)
  • The Pediatric Emergency Center at Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital, Navicent Health (770 Pine Street, Macon)
  • The Medical Center of Peach County, Navicent Health (1960 Hwy 247 Connector, Byron)
  • Navicent Health Baldwin (821 North Cobb Street, Milledgeville)
  • Monroe County Hospital, Navicent Health Partner (88 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Forsyth)
  • Putnam General Hospital, Navicent Health Partner (101 Greensboro Rd., Eatonton)

For non-life threatening injuries, visit your nearest urgent care provider. Navicent Health provides urgent care at three Macon-Bibb County locations. Visit to reserve an appointment.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and well-being through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit