As most Americans are hanging their flags and buntings, cleaning their grills, and planning their spots along parade routes, in anticipation of Independence Day, burn centers and hospitals across the country are gearing up for the inevitable burn-related casualties that spike during America’s favorite holiday. In 2017, there were 4 deaths and close to 13,000 reported fireworks-related injuries, and the numbers are expected to rise as many states are lifting their bans and restrictions.
Matt Ferdock, CEO, Navitas Data Sciences, has been a long-time supporter of the Burn Prevention Network, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, based in Eastern Pennsylvania, and has recently accepted the honor of serving on their Board of Directors. The organization has an ambitious mission, “to provide burn injury prevention education, materials, and advocacy throughout North America,” with the ultimate goal: “to create a World without Burns.”
There are many opportunities for burn injuries during the summer months, from sunburns and campfire accidents, to improper handling of fuels used for grilling and lawnmowers. Professionals agree that approximately 75% of burn injuries could have been prevented if proper precautions were taken, and safety rules had been followed. But of all the summertime burn risks, the most prevalent danger is in the handling of fireworks.
Sadly, statistics show that it is small children (under age 5) that rank as having the second highest fireworks-related burns, and half of those injuries are caused by sparklers! The Burn Prevention Network reminds us that “there is no such thing as safe fireworks,” and strongly advises everyone to “leave the show to the pros!”
If you don’t heed that advice, and decide to set off your own fireworks, at least please follow these safety recommendations offered by the experts:
Keep all fireworks and sparklers away from children!
Do NOT purchase fireworks that are packaged in brown paper, as these are usually intended for licensed professionals only.
Be sure to have adult supervision at all fireworks activities.
Keep all body parts away from fireworks when lighting the fuse. Never lean over the device.
Move back quickly once the firework is lit.
Do NOT pick-up, or attempt to re-light, fireworks that did not ignite fully.
Keep a garden hose turned-on and handy! Minimally, have a bucket of water nearby.
Never light more than one firework at a time, and keep each one a safe distance from the others.
Never point or toss a firework in anyone’s direction.
Before discarding spent fireworks, douse fully with water.
The road to recovery from burns is usually a long, hard journey. SPiRiT (Scar, Physiology, Research, and Treatment) Foundation was co-founded by Matt Ferdock, to raise funds for scar treatment and research, to aid those suffering from major burn injuries. In particular, there are great strides being made in laser treatment research that can alleviate much of the tightness and pain that accompany burn scars, and also greatly improve their appearance.
Please celebrate Independence Day and every day this summer safely!
HAPPY 4th of JULY!
Please see this very informative video on Fireworks Safety & How to avoid Summer Burn Injuries: