State Fire Marshal Warns Public of the Dangers of Fireworks at Safety Demonstration

HOWARD COUNTY, June 26, 2019 – State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci joined Howard County Fire and EMS Chief Christine Uhlhorn this morning, along with the Maryland State Firemen’s Association and leaders in various medical fields, to present the dangers of legal and illegal fireworks. 

Firework-accident-with-imitation hand
An imitation hand used during the demonstration to show the affects of illegal fireworks use.

“There were 17 fireworks-related incidents reported in Maryland last year,” said State Fire Marshal Geraci. “Prevention of burns, injuries, and fires has always been a top priority of our office. The safest way to enjoy fireworks this July 4th holiday season is to attend one of the many public fireworks displays throughout the state.” 

The safety demonstration, conducted by the State Fire Marshal’s Bomb Squad, showed the impacts of M-80s, firecrackers, and even sparklers on various parts of the human body, including the hands and eyes.

“A sparkler can burn hot enough to melt gold,” said Dr. Dean Fiergang, an ophthalmologist and executive board member of the Maryland Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. “While advancements in ophthalmic surgery have come a long way, there is very little that can be done when temperatures that extreme make contact with the human eye.” 

If you insist on viewing fireworks at home instead of at a recommended professional display, you are encouraged to do the following:

  • Keep a bucket of water on hand for sparklers and other fireworks after use
  • Never attempt to re-light fireworks that did not fully ignite the first time
  • Never use fireworks in combination with alcohol and other drugs
  • Never allow children to use fireworks or sparklers
  • Light fireworks one at a time and move away quickly after igniting
  • Look up your county’s local fireworks rules to ensure you are using only legal fireworks products

“This time of year is one of the busiest for The Curtis National Hand Center at MedStar Memorial Hospital,” said Dr. Ryan Zimmerman, an attending hand surgeon at the hospital. “If you experience a loss of digits during a fireworks accident, never put them directly on ice. First wrap them in gauze and place in a plastic bag within another plastic bag that contains a combination of ice and water. Go directly to your nearest emergency room.”

Click here for a list of permitted, professional fireworks displays across the State of Maryland this holiday season or visit

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