Summer months are busy and filled with bonfires, firing up the grill as well as watching brilliant fireworks, especially during the Fourth of July holiday. While the summer celebrations are relaxing, that relaxation can come to a hault if not handled with extreme caution.
During the summer, especially in the month of 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.
“As an ER physician, I know that these are the times of the year that particularly younger adults and children are prone to serious accidents,” Ryan Brown, MD, medical director of the Bon Secours St. Francis Emergency Center at Simpsonville, shares. “This speaks to the importance of awareness and proactive safety measures in helping preventing potentially debilitating injuries.”
Here are a few tips to help you stay safe during your Fourth of July celebrations.
- 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.