Tips for a Safe & Healthy 4th of July; Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals!

Modified: July 1, 2016 2:32pm

Latest News

Archived Press Releases by Year:



 From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein

Date July 1, 2016                              

CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925

Tips for a Safe & Healthy 4th of July

leave the fireworks to the professionals!

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Fireworks and extremely dangerous if used incorrectly. The use of personal fireworks is illegal in New York State. While some counties have legalized small fireworks and sparklers, they remain illegal in others including Erie County. Yet the private use of fireworks is responsible each year for eye and ear damage, burns, puncture wounds, and permanent scarring. Graphic

“Fireworks are best left up to the professionals,” stated Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Department of Health (“ECDOH”) Commissioner.  "A holiday celebration should not turn into a trip to the emergency department. Put safety first during Fourth of July weekend. We want everyone to enjoy this festive weekend, and public fireworks displays conducted by professionals and overseen by safety experts are a good way to celebrate. But each year, adults and children are injured when they play with fireworks. Don't let that happen to you or your family this year."

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 11,900 fireworks-related injuries in 2015 that required emergency department treatment. Approximately 42% percent of the injuries were to children and adolescents 20 years of age or younger. Even sparklers can be lethal because they can burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt gold. 65% of these injuries involved burns.

Common causes of fireworks-related injuries are:

  • A fast-fuse firecracker explodes before it can be thrown;
  • A misguided rocket strikes a bystander; and,
  • A curious youngster goes to investigate why a firecracker "failed" to explode.

In addition, keep your pets indoors to reduce the risk that they will run loose and get injured. Animals have very sensitive ears and can be stressed or frightened due to the igniting of fireworks.

Outdoor food safety is also a concern, especially during warm summer weather. This problem is more serious than many people realize; 1 in 6 Americans get sick from foodborne illnesses each year. 

One of the basics of food safety is cooking food to its proper temperature. Foods are properly cooked when they are heated for a long enough time and at a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria and viruses that cause foodborne illness.

“You cannot tell when food is “done” simply by checking its color and texture,” said Burstein. “There is no way to be sure food is cooked properly without following a few important but simple steps, such as ensuring food reaches its safe minimum cooking temperature by using a food thermometer.” 

Internal temperatures should be:

  • 130°F for beef and veal (roast, steak and chops). Allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating
  • 140°F for lamb (roast and chops). Allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating
  • 150°F pork (roast and chops). Allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating
  • 158°F for ground meats (hamburgers)
  • 165°F for all poultry. No interruption in cooking process.
  • 140°F for fish
  • 165°F for home cooked foods that are being reheated.

Do not leave food out all day during your holiday get-togethers! Illness-causing bacteria and viruses can grow in many foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them. During the summer heat, cut that time down to one hour. Refrigerate the foods that tend to spoil more quickly (like fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs and meats) within two hours. Warm foods will chill faster if they are divided into several clean, shallow containers.

#  #  #  

For More Information:

United States Consumer Product Safety Commission—Fireworks Information Center

CDC Food Safety Website

Safe Minimum Temperature Chart (pdf)

USDA Safe Food Handling Fact Sheets

Fight Bac! Keep Food Safe from Bacteria

Frequently Requested



Phone: (716) 858-7690

Fax: (716) 858-8701

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH)
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo, New York 14202

ECDOH Locations