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Put safety first to keep the Fourth of July fun

Watching fireworks on the Fourth of July can be fun, but the most beautiful display can quickly turn ugly without proper precautions.
Every year, the Ascension Via Christi Regional Burn Center—the region’s only verified burn center for adults and children—cares for dozens of adults and children for fireworks-related burns and traumatic injuries, many of them preventable.
“Safety should always come first when handling fireworks,” says Sarah Fischer, MSN, RN, program coordinator for the Via Christi Regional Burn Center. “Mishandled or malfunctioning fireworks can result in serious burns and even life-threatening injuries.”
To make sure you have a fun and safe Independence Day, prepare your environment and make sure you and your children follow these guidelines if you choose to use fireworks: 
  • Never let young children play with fireworks or sparklers. 
  • Don’t allow children to pick up spent fireworks after they are ignited. They remain hot for a while and some may still explode at any time. 
  • Never light fireworks in your hand or near your face. 
  • Never ignite fireworks in a glass or metal container. The container may explode or shatter, sending shrapnel long distances with great force. 
  • Keep a bucket of water or hose close by to douse “duds.” 
  • Never attempt to relight fireworks. 
  • Ensure mortar/artillery shell tubes are secure and on stable ground to avoid tipping.
  • Put all used sparklers in a bucket of water, as they burn at temperatures of more than 1,200 degrees F and may remain hot for a long time. 
  • Always light one firework at a time and do not group fireworks together.
If an accident involving fireworks occurs, call 911 and keep the patient warm and calm until help arrives. 
If clothing catches fire from fireworks: 
  • Immediately have the person stop, drop and roll until the fire is extinguished. 
  • Remove clothing, shoes, diapers and jewelry. These may hide burns and retain heat, increasing the skin damage. After removal of items, cover person with a clean, dry sheet.
  • Cool the burn with lukewarm to cool water for a short time.
  • Never use ice on a burn. It can cause further injury. 
About Roz Hutchinson

Roz Hutchinson is a Wichita wife, mother and chief spoiler of six grandkids and three Chihuahuas, a die-hard women's basketball fan, and director of Communications and Public Relations for Ascension Via Christi.