As Independence Day draws near, fireworks sales will be at their peak, and though it may be tempting to set off fireworks in the backyard, experts strongly advise against it.
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 200 people on average visit the Emergency Room each day during the Fourth of July holiday week. The majority of injuries occur to the hands, fingers, face, head and ears. Every year, children are the most vulnerable to fireworks injuries.
Fireworks are banned in unincorporated areas and the City of Lamar only allows certain types of fireworks, namely small cylindrical fountains no more than three-fourths of an inch in diameter and with no more than 50 grams of pyrotechnic content. Sparklers, spinning wheels and glow worms are allowed, but not recommended. For additional details, contact the Lamar Fire Department at 719-336-4321.
“Every year, we see injuries on the Fourth of July,” said Dr. Margaret Loewen, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Prowers Medical Center. “Children need to be supervised at all times around any flame or heat source. We don’t always think about it, but children are easily burned by BBQ grills, fire pits, bonfires, tiki torches and other heat sources. Whenever there is fire, be extra watchful.”
Summer Campfire Safety
Besides fireworks, campfires are also a common cause for burns during the summer months.
Campfires are the nation’s leading cause of children’s camping injuries. Before camping, teach children to stop, drop and roll. It’s also wise to establish rules for kids around campfires and fire pits, including the following:
- Always sit when using marshmallow sticks.
- Don’t wave sticks, as sticks can poke eyes or hot marshmallows can fling off and cause burns.
- Only adults can tend the fire.
Campfires are also the primary catalyst for damaging forest fires. If you plan on having a campfire, keep water nearby in case the wind kicks up the fire or someone is exposed. It’s important to clear the area of debris before building a campfire and to keep the fire small. Here are a few more campfire tips to ensure ultimate campfire safety:
- Don’t use lighter fluid.
- Make sure your fire is fully extinguished before going to bed.
- Avoid using bug spray around a campfire due to flammability.
Treating Minor Burns
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to treat a minor burn, the best treatment is to run cold tap water over the burn or to soak the burned hand or finger in water for 15 minutes. Doing this helps pull the heat out of the skin.
“Avoid using ice, as ice will cause more damage to the skin,” Loewen said. “Also, as tempting as it is, resist to urge to pop a burn blister, as it increases your risk for infection.”
If an injury occurs or you find yourself in a more severe fire or burn-related emergency, seek medical treatment promptly and immediately dial 911. Keep in mind that Prowers Medical Center Clinic is closed on the Fourth of July, but the emergency room at the hospital is always open.
In order to have a safe and healthy summer and Fourth of July holiday, it’s best to leave the more extravagant fireworks to the experts and to watch their awing explosions from afar by attending this year’s Prowers County fireworks display. Fireworks begin at dusk at Prowers County Fairgrounds, so bring a blanket, chairs and some glow sticks and enjoy a safe Independence Day with your family!