Every year, emergency hospital services must treat people with burns or with fingers torn off by firecrackers, mortars and other rockets used to celebrate the national holiday.

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Smoke, firecrackers, fireworks … what are the dangers of pyrotechnic devices?

Even though they’re designed to party, firecrackers, mortars, and other smoke bombs are explosive devices. They can cause the equivalent of war wounds with serious after-effects if handled without proper precautions.

The problem with the firecracker is that it’s a blast, it’s an explosion that will damage all the tissues of the hand: the skin, tendons, arteries, nerves and bones. And to this tissue lesion itself are added burns, the projection of bodies due to the explosion. The injuries can be extremely serious (amputations, etc.)“, explains Pr Emmanuel Masmejean, hand surgeon.

Good reflexes to adopt in the event of an accident

In an emergency, we must call for help and try to prevent trampling of the accident area to find the parts of the hand torn off by the explosion. “And in the event of a serious lesion with amputation, it is necessary to recover the amputated fragments even if they seem very jagged, to put them in a small damp towel and in a plastic bag. And place this plastic bag in another plastic bag with ice to keep the amputated fragment. If the hand is dilapidated with finger segments that are probably gone, one should stay calm and take wet fields to try to compress the hand“, recalls Professor Masmejean.

Even with these first steps and the orientation towards an SOS hands center, the expertise of specialized surgeons is not always enough to reimplant the fingers. Everything is therefore based on prevention: avoid artisanal firecrackers imported without authorization or better yet, watch the fireworks organized by professionals.