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Format: 04/19/2014
Format: 04/19/2014

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Stay vigilant to avoid a holiday burn injury, West Penn Burn Center advises

Friday, June 26th, 2009

The familiar sights and sounds of summer fireworks, and the warmth and aroma of the barbecue grill, fill our senses once again as the Fourth of July holiday approaches. 

But don’t let familiarity turn into complacency, doctors at the West Penn Burn Center warned. Keep your holiday happy by always respecting the power of fire and heat.

“No matter how many times you’ve fired up the grill, you still need to follow basic safety precautions such as keeping children away from the fire, wearing an insulated, fire-retardant barbecue mitt, and avoiding loose clothing that could catch fire,” said Larry Jones, MD, Medical Director of the West Penn Burn Center.

Statistics from the National Fireworks Safety Council show the use of fireworks has increased dramatically over the past few decades, while the number of injuries has declined.

“The safety messages are getting through to the public,” Dr. Jones said. “But even one burn injury is too many. Burns are painful and traumatic injuries that leave lasting scars, emotional and physical.”

The West Penn Burn Center, the American Burn Association and the National Fireworks Safety Council offer the following tips on staying safe over the Fourth of July. For more information, visit www.westpennburncenter.com and click on “Staying Safe.”

- Sixteen percent of consumer fireworks injuries are caused by sparklers, and most of the injured are young children. Children under 12 should not use sparklers without very close adult supervision. Teach them how to hold the sparkler at arm’s length.
- Sparkler wires and sticks remain hot after the fire has gone out. Drop sparklers directly into a bucket of water after use.
- Never hold or get close to lit fireworks. Never point or shoot them toward people, buildings, vehicles or wooded areas, especially in very dry weather.
- Establish a “no-kid zone” around a barbecue fire. Keep lighters out of sight and out of reach of children, and only use barbecue lighters labeled “child-resistant.”
- When using a propane or natural gas grill, regularly check the connections using soapy water. If bubbles form, that indicates a leak.
- After soaking coals with lighter/starter fluid, place the container well away from the grill, then wait a minute before lighting the coals so that the concentration of explosive vapors will disperse. Never add lighter fluid to hot or warm coals.
- Don’t neglect sun safety. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 with both UVA and UVB protection. If you are applying another substance, such as insect repellent, always put the sunscreen on first, then wait 30 minutes.

 

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