Firework Injury Prevention and Burn Safety Discussed in Time for Summer Celebrations
Fireworks are spectacular to watch and a great American tradition. However, these explosive devices are very dangerous. Even seemingly harmless sparklers pose a serious injury risk—they can reach temperatures as high as 1,800˚F, a temperature that easily burns skin and can create permanent, devastating injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an average 230 fireworks-related injuries near and on the 4th of July each year.
“Each year we treat many people, especially children and teens, around 4th of July celebrations who have been injured by fireworks. Many of those injuries involve an amputation of a limb or loss of vision,” said Jenny Ziembicki, M.D., medical director, UPMC Mercy Burn Center. “We want to remind everyone that fireworks should only be handled by professionals and enjoyed at a safe distance.”
House fires do not have a season. The danger is real and present throughout the year. More than 2,500 people die and nearly 13,000 are injured in home fires every year, yet many people aren’t aware of the potential fire hazards that exist in their own homes. The kitchen stove, a burning candle, or festive lights are among the common household items that can turn dangerous very quickly. In an effort to prevent such a tragedy, the UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Centers
have donated 100 smoke detectors to the City of Pittsburgh Fire Department for distribution to city residents.
Whenever you are working with hot food and liquids, ensure the cooking area is free of obstacles and distractions, and that pot handles are turned toward the middle of the stove or grill to avoid accidental spillage. Use oven mitts when handling hot items.
If a grease fire occurs, turn off the heat source. If it is contained to a pan or pot, cover it with a lid or cookie sheet. NEVER attempt to extinguish with water. Do not attempt to move the pan. If the grease fire is not contained to a pot, a chemical fire extinguisher can be used. If you are unable to safely extinguish the fire, evacuate and call 911.
UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Centers also have donated burn safety items for distribution by local EMS agencies, including glow sticks to be used instead of sparklers, oven mitts for cooking and barbeque burn prevention, as well as water temperature “duckies” to prevent bath-time scald injuries in children.
Campfires and Bonfires
Every year in the U.S., thousands of people are injured in accidents involving recreational fires. Many of these accidents involve camp fires and their impact can be devastatingly debilitating.
The most important tip is to stop the burning process quickly by removing any clothing or substance involved in the burn injury. Cool the area immediately with cool water. Do not apply ice, ointment or other home remedy. Apply a dry dressing and go to the nearest urgent care center or emergency department for evaluation.
UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Centers wish you a happy and healthy summer of fun! View these additional Summer Safety Tips
and enjoy the season.
For more information concerning community events at which injury prevention and safety tips can be shared, call UPMC Mercy Trauma Services at 412-232-8375.
As the region’s only combined Level I Regional Resource Trauma and American Burn Association (ABA) Verified Burn Center, UPMC Mercy delivers both emergency trauma treatment and longer-term burn care. UPMC Mercy has been a leader in providing comprehensive care to patients of trauma and burn injuries. Opened in 1967, UPMC Mercy was the first burn center in Pennsylvania and the 17th in the United States. The American Burn Association (ABA) verification program is a joint program between the ABA and the American College of Surgeons. It is a rigorous review process designed to verify a burn center’s resources required for the provision of optimal care to burn patients from the time of injury through rehabilitation. The combination of burn and trauma care services gives UPMC Mercy the unique ability to care for the most critically ill and injured patients.