By Broderick Rhyant, M.D.,
chief physician executive with
Eskenazi Health Center Forest Manor
The hot temperatures of summer are upon us again and it won’t be long until Americans are enjoying Fourth of July fireworks displays as the annual grilling season kicks into high gear, and the Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center at Eskenazi Health encourages everyone to follow some helpful tips to ensure that these potentially dangerous activities remain safe for everyone.
If you plan to celebrate by lighting fireworks or grilling, make sure that safety is the number one priority for you, your family and friends, and all those around you.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), on July 4, more fires are reported than any other day of the year and fireworks account for more than half of them. In fact, fireworks are responsible for an average of 18,500 fires each year.
On average, there are seven fireworks-related deaths each year in the U.S. and over 11,000 injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that children under age 15 account for one-quarter of all injuries.
Although we enthusiastically insist that you let professionals handle all fireworks displays, if you do decide to light fireworks at home, exercise extreme attentiveness, and be sure to follow these precautions:
• Never allow children to light or play with fireworks.
• Avoid buying fireworks in brown paper packaging, which is a sign they are made for professional displays.
• Light fireworks one at a time, then move away quickly.
• If you are lighting fireworks, avoid wearing loose clothing that could catch fire.
• Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby in case of fire.
• Never try to relight a burned out or “dud” firework. Soak it in water, and throw it away.
• Never take fireworks apart or modify them in any way.
• Size doesn’t equal danger: a small firecracker can burn as hot as a blowtorch.
According to the NFPA, backyard barbecues ignite 9,600 home fires each year, and cause 16,600 trips to the emergency room to treat people for burns from grills, hibachis or barbecues, so please follow these guidelines:
• Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.
• Grills should be located well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
• Keep children and pets away from the grilling area.
• Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
• Never leave your grill unattended.
For more information on burn prevention, please call the Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center’s burn prevention hotline at 1.866.339.BURN.