Firing up the grill, basking in the sun and watching fireworks light up the sky with family and friends is most people’s perfect Fourth of July celebration. While this patriotic holiday is typically a relaxing day, fireworks along with grilling and campfires must be handled with extreme caution.
In the summer months, especially in July, there is a rise in burn-related injuries involving these activities. Every year, approximately 500,000 fires are caused as a result of fireworks. Additionally, nearly 13,000 people nationwide require a trip to the emergency room as a result of firework-related injuries. The improper use of fireworks, grilling and campfires can quickly turn a good time into a medical emergency.
“We encourage everyone to enjoy the Fourth of July with the proper precautions in place,” shares Dawn Zellner, MD, medical director of emergency services at Bon Secours St. Francis. “It is important to always use legal fireworks. Many injuries we see are due to illegal or misuse of fireworks. Having a safety plan for after firework use is also paramount in preventing injuries and wildfires. Please do not allow children to handle fireworks. It’s best to always leave the fireworks to the professionals.”
Here are a few tips to stay safe during your July 4th celebration:
More firework advice
- Consider safer alternatives such as glow sticks or confetti poppers.
- Observe your local and state laws.
- Never hold a lit firework in your hand or point/throw a lit firework at anyone.
- Don’t allow children to handle fireworks, including sparklers, which is the equivalent to holding a blow torch!
- Have a designated sober adult light all legal fireworks.
- Keep children and other observers at a safe distance and behind a protective barrier.
- Keep a bucket of water close for disposal of fireworks.
- Never leave the grill unattended.
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be used well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- Use caution when using starter fluid, only use charcoal starter fluid and never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
- Keep charcoal fluid away from children and heat sources.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
- NEVER use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids.
- Watch children while fire is burning. Never let children and pets play or stand too close to the fire.
- Attend to the campfire at all times.
- Always have a hose, bucket of water or shovel and dirt/sand nearby to put a fire out.
- Keep a campfire small which is easier to control.
- If your clothes catch on fire, cover your face and stop, drop and roll until the fire is out.
- Treat a burn right away. Cool the burn with cool water for three to five minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth. Get medical help if needed.