INDIANAPOLIS - It's not even Fourth of July yet, but local hospitals are already seeing patients come in with injuries from fireworks.
A spokeswoman at Eskenazi Hospital told FOX 59, the Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center admitted three burn patients last year and treated several others with injuries. This year, they have already started treating patients with firework injuries and expect traffic to pick up this weekend. Usually, doctors see injuries on the hands, feet, and face.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, around 11,400 Americans reported injuries from fireworks in 2013.
Captain Mike Pruitt of the Wayne Township Fire Department said one of the most common mistakes people make is going back and checking on a fireworks that looks like it's not going off.
He demonstrated the worst that could happen by using fireworks donated by Patriotic Fireworks on E. Washington.
He put a raw chicken breast on top of shoot tube to represent the skin on your face. When the firework went off, the piece of meat flew off and was charred and ripped by the explosion.
"So that would’ve been your face,” said Pruitt. “If it does not light and you see the fuse burn away and it doesn’t go off, stay away from it. That thing could be smoldering in there and could go off the moment you walk up there.”
Even the small stuff can hurt.
Pruitt suggested using bamboo sparklers over wire ones, because they tend to be less hot. He warned against using cups to protect your hands because they could catch on fire.
"I’ve seen Styrofoam cups used and that stuff melts away really quick and could end up causing a severe burn to a child,” he said.
Pruitt also encouraged people to use cement blocks to keep fireworks upright and prevent them from falling over and shooting someplace they're not supposed to.
He added that people ought to keep a bucket of water nearby to dump fireworks in after they've been used.
The most important piece of advice firefighters have is to not mix alcohol with fireworks and make sure only adults are setting them off.