AUGUSTA, GA - Celebrating Independence Day with fireworks is a tradition for many, but sometimes those celebrations lead to injuries. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2007, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,800 people for fireworks related injuries; 56% of 2007 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 36% were to the head. Last year, 15 patients were treated at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center and Advanced Wound Management Center at Doctors Hospital for injuries sustained during July 4th festivities.
“We have seen an increase in fireworks-related injuries since Georgia legalized fireworks,” said Dr. Fred Mullins, Medical Director of the Joseph M. Still Burn Center. “Those handling fireworks need to be extremely cautious, and do not allow young children to play with fireworks under any circumstances.”
- The best way to enjoy fireworks is to visit public fireworks displays put on by professionals who know how to safely handle fireworks.
- Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass. Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
- Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
- Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a devise does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
- Always read the directions and warning labels on fireworks. If a devise is not marked with the contents, directions and a warning label, do not light it.
- Supervise children around fireworks at all times.
- Before using a grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line. Make sure the venturi tubes - where the air and gas mix - are not blocked.
- Do not overfill the propane tank.
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbecue.
- Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flames can flashback up into the container and explode.
- Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately. Supervise children around outdoor grills.
- Dispose of hot coals properly - douse them with plenty of water, and stir them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
- Never grill/barbecue in enclosed areas - carbon monoxide could be produced.
- Make sure everyone knows to Stop, Drop and Roll if clothing does catch fire. Call 911 or your local emergency number if a burn warrants serious medical attention.
- Build campfires where they will not spread, away from dry grass and leaves.
- Keep campfires small, and don't let them get out of hand.
- Keep plenty of water and a shovel around to douse the fire when you're done. Stir it and douse it again with water. Do not step on embers!
The Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital is a 59-bed burn center that admits over 3,000 patients annually from throughout the Southeast, and 7.6 percent of the nation’s burn patients. The Burn Center has a 97 percent survival rate; a third of its patients are children. For more information about burn prevention or the Joseph M.Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital, go to www.josephmstillburncenter.com or contact Beth Frits, 706.364.6400.