New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul released a public service announcement warning people of the dangers of handling fireworks this Fourth of July weekend.
Pierre-Paul, a former University of South Florida football player, was involved in a fireworks accident last year where he lost the ends of his thumb and middle finger and had his right index finger amputated.
In the video, titled #FireworksHurt, produced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, he detailed what happened July 4, 2015.
“I lit up a firework, thought I could throw it away real quick, and in a split second, blew off my whole hand just right there," he said. "On the way to the hospital, all I could do is think about was my son and was I going to make it?”
The doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care shared their safety tips for handling fireworks. Some things they suggested were to:
- Do not allow children to play with fireworks. Even sparklers – widely thought to be safe for children – can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt gold. If you allow the kids to have sparklers, an adult should carefully supervise their use outside.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket – friction can set them off.
- Use the fireworks outside and have a hose and bucket of water nearby. Before you start, clear the area of leaves, sticks, brush, and other flammable materials.
- Be aware – and warn others in the area – that fireworks can backfire or unintentionally shoot off in the wrong direction.
- Point fireworks away from people, homes, other structures, and trees.
- Light one firework at a time. Do not hold the firework in your hand or hover over it while lighting. Never attempt to handle or relight a malfunctioning firework; instead, douse it with water.
In the video, Pierre-Paul said after his accident, he’s leaving fireworks “to the fireworks professionals."
“Now I'm just truly, truly blessed to be alive,” he said. “Now when I look at fireworks I think about the safety. Keep fireworks away from kids.”