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Parkland Burn CenterStaff Cautions on Fireworks Safety


Irving, Texas. June 30, 2017

Fireworks displays on July 4th are as American as baseball and apple pie. But while the pyrotechnics can be spectacular, they can also be dangerous if not handled correctly. Even sparklers, which are prevalent at many family picnics, can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit – hotter than a blow torch.

On average over the past 15 years, the U.S. sees 7.4 fireworks-related deaths per calendar year and another 10,000 injuries, according to data and estimates tracked by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The American Burn Association (ABA) reports that more than 50 percent of fireworks injuries occur with people under the age of 20.

In 2016, nine patients were hospitalized in Parkland Health & Hospital System’s Burn Center due to burn injuries sustained from fireworks. A few were young children who were accidentally struck by a firework when an adult lost control or it went off unexpectedly. Some of the injuries were severe enough to require hospitalization, skin grafting and rehabilitation.

“Burns from fireworks usually involve the hands, face, arms and chest areas,” said Stephanie Campbell, RN, BSN, CCRN, Burn Program Manager at Parkland’s Regional Burn Center. “Fireworks can be dangerous and it’s important everyone remember that they can cause serious and even life-threatening injuries.”

“If at all possible, leave the show to the pros and attend sanctioned fireworks display events,” said Shelli Stephens-Stidham, director of the Injury Prevention Center of Greater Dallas at Parkland. “These events have spectacular fireworks that can be enjoyed by all members of the family.”

Stephens-Stidham said that if someone still wants to use fireworks, they need to make sure they are in an area where fireworks are legal and follow basic safety precautions such as not letting small children handle them and supervising any older child using them.

The ABA offers “do’s” and “don’ts” for fireworks safety this Independence Day:
Do – consider safer alternatives such as glow sticks, confetti poppers or colored streamers
Do – observe local and state fireworks laws
Do – have a designated sober adult light all legal fireworks
Do – light one firework at a time and move away quickly
Do – keep a bucket of water close for disposal of fireworks
Don’t – allow children to handle fireworks – including sparklers
Don’t – attempt to alter, modify or relight fireworks
Don’t – allow children to pick up the spent fireworks – some may still be active
Don’t – consume alcohol or drugs when lighting fireworks
Don’t – ever hold lit fireworks in your hand

If a burn injury does happen, cool the burn with cool (not cold) water to stop the burning process, remove all clothing and jewelry from the injured area, cover the area with a dry clean sheet or loose bandages and seek medical attention, Campbell said.

Established in 1962, the Parkland Burn Center is the second largest civilian burn center in the nation, providing care to more than 2,200 patients annually. Serving North Texas and surrounding areas, this comprehensive burn center is one of only 62 verified burn centers in North America and the only one in North Texas, and provides all services from emergency treatment to intensive care to rehabilitation and outpatient follow-up care.

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