The Fourth of July is almost here, but the spirit is already upon us with smokebombs billowing from backyards and black cats cracking on street corners. If you’re working on and around the Fourth — especially in the ER — you’ll probably see increased traffic and some common injury trends. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s summer 2012 study of firework injuries, there were more than 5000 firework injuries in the month surrounding the Fourth (June 22-July 22) with an average of 200 people daily visiting the ER because of them. Check out CPSC’s great infograph here. Fingers and hands are the most vulnerable, accounting for 41% of firework injuries. Next are heads, faces and ears; torsos; legs; and eyes. More than half of 2012 firework injuries were burns. Men were three times as likely as women to be injured by fireworks and almost a quarter of injuries were in the 25-44 age range.
Whether you’ll be working or playing this upcoming 4th of July holiday we wish you all a safe, happy holiday. Here are some Fourth of July survival tips for you to share with friends, family, and patients — to help them keep all their digits and stay out of your unit!
Appoint one person “The Grillmaster.” (Very often they will self-appoint!) That way someone is specifically responsible for minding the grill at all times and paying attention to avoid danger.
Use good common sense when positioning your grill and keep it away from other objects. A deck, garage, shed, or house aflame makes for a lousy firework! Consult your manual if you’re unsure.
Have a fire extinguisher on hand juuuust in case.
Try to leave fireworks displays to the pros. Even the seemingly mild sparkler burns at more than 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to cause third-degree burns. But if you must do them yourself …
Just say “no” to illegal or homemade fireworks. All 6 reported firework-related deaths in 2012 involved them. DIY is great for many projects, but it’s not a good approach when it comes to explosive materials.
Never pick up a firework after it’s been lit and never try to relight or even pick up a “dud,” it could still be active. Instead, wait 20 minutes and soak in water. Keep a few pails of water around.
Sun & Hydration
Always wear sunscreen, even if it’s cloudy, and make sure it’s full- or broad-spectrum so it protects from UVA and UVB light. Reapply often, especially if you are sweating a lot or swimming.
Be shady: Umbrellas, trees, hats, sunglasses, and other such shade-providers are your friends and keep you free from the awful possibility of sunstroke.
Hit the H2O hard! You’re out in the sun, you may be drinking alcohol; staying hydrated is super important to your health and you’ll feel better and have more fun when you drink plenty of water.
Remember, the red-white-&-blue celebration may be held on the fourth, but it’s important that safety comes first. Have a great holiday, everyone!