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Don’t get burned this Independence Day with these tips

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IDAHO FALLS — Fireworks and grills are Fourth of July staples in Idaho, but they can also cause severe injuries or even death.

Independence Day is a busy time of year at the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. Because of that, EIRMC is offering some tips on how to avoid a trip to their Burn & Reconstructive Centers this year.

“We see injuries ranging from shallow burns to huge traumas,” Burn Center Medical Director Dr. Micahel Lemon said in a news release. “And most of them are preventable.”

Fireworks

About 9,100 fireworks-related injuries were treated across the country last year, and 62 percent of those injuries occurred between June 22 and July 22. At least five people died, according to a 2018 report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Lemon shared some advice on how to safely use fireworks.

“To start with, you should clearly establish a shooting area if you are not going to hire a professional to handle your fireworks. Only the designated ‘shooter’ should be allowed in this area, and it should be totally off limits to children,” Lemon said in the news release.

Children under the age of 15 accounted for 36 percent of fireworks-related injuries in 2018.

More safety tips

  • Ensure a fire extinguisher, hose or bucket of water is nearby.
  • Make sure the “shooter” is sober, not wearing loose clothing that could ignite and follows all directions on the firework’s label.
  • If the device does not have a warning or instructions label, do not fire it.Never use fireworks of any kind indoors.
  • Light fireworks one at a time.
  • Never though fireworks. A malfunctioning fuse could cause the item to go off in your hand.
  • Never light fireworks held in someone’s hand.
  • Never stand over an item that does not fire.
  • Remember that fireworks, especially sparklers and smaller items that stay on the ground, are still very hot, and therefore dangerous after they have been used.

Grills

Fireworks season is also grilling season. Grills can also be dangerous if safety measures aren’t taken. Lemon said one of the main safety concerns is making sure the lid is open when lighting a grill. Leaving the lid closed can cause propane to build up.

“That’s a formula for a grill explosion, something that can cause severe burns,” Lemon said.

More safety tips

  • Use grills only in properly ventilated areas as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fires increases if grilling in an encloses area such as a garage.
  • Do not use an accelerant, such as gasoline, to light a grill, campfire or debris pile. Gas fumes can ignite and cause a large explosion.
  • Dispose of hot coals properly; soak with water, then stir and soak again to make sure the fire is out.
  • Always shut off the propane tank valve when not in use.
  • Never try to light a gas grill with the lid closed.
  • Always wear short sleeves or tight-fitting clothing while grilling.
  • Use utensils with long handles to stay clear of hot surfaces.

Lemon also wants people to take precautions against another kind of burn — sunburn. He recommends using a sweatproof, broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 35. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 30 minutes or after getting in water.

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