Fireworks in the sky aren’t the ones Salil Gulati, MD, worries about on Independence Day. He’s much more concerned with the ones that explode closer to the ground.
“Too often, people get caught up in watching the show and begin to get a little careless,” said Dr. Gulati, Medical Director of the Burn and Reconstructive Centers of Texas at Medical City Plano. “It only takes a second of carelessness for something bad to happen.”
To help keep family and friends safe, Dr. Gulati recommends leaving the fireworks show in the hands of experts. However, he also provides some safety precautions for those who live in areas where fireworks are not illegal:
- Create a “blast zone” that is away from structures, people, dry grass and other flammable items
- Designate a specific safety supervisor who does not participate in the pyrotechnics
- Keep a fire extinguisher, hose or bucket of water nearby
- Avoid wearing loose clothing that could ignite
- Follow all directions on the fireworks label
- Do not use any device that is missing a warning and/or instructions label
- Never use fireworks indoors
- Light fireworks one at a time
- Never throw fireworks
- Never light fireworks held in someone’s hand
- Never stand over a firework that does not ignite
- Do not touch fireworks, especially sparklers and smaller items that stay on the ground, after they have been used because they may remain dangerously hot
Dr. Gulati also urges precautions around the grill, a common source for serious and potentially life-threatening burns. He recommends keeping the grill at least 10 feet away from buildings or anything that could catch fire and discourages the use of gasoline to ignite the coals.
“You are asking for trouble if you do that,” Dr. Gulati said. “The liquid can explode, and so can the fumes.”
Other grilling tips:
- Use utensils with long handles to stay clear of the fire
- Dispose of hot coals properly by dousing with water and stirring the ashes
- Keep lighter fluid container away from grill
- Utility/barbeque lighters should not be left outdoors where the elements may weaken or damage the plastic.
- Always follow manufacturers’ instructions when operating a grill
- Replace nicked or scratched connectors
- Always turn on a utility light before you turn on gas or propane
- Never use a match to check for leaks
- Keep gas hoses as far away from grease and hot surfaces as possible
- After grilling, make sure hot coals are properly disposed of or contained and all gas lines are shut off
Burns are often a medical emergency that require calling 911. Find out more about Medical City Plano’s burn center here: http://medicalcityplano.com/service/the-burn-and-reconstructive-center-of-texas.