UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Center
teamed up with the
Pittsburgh Bureau Police Bomb Squad to host its annual demonstration on summertime
safety last week.
During the demonstration, UPMC
Mercy Burn Center Medical Director Jenny Ziembicki, M.D., and Det. Carlos Schrader from the Pittsburgh
Bureau Police Bomb Squad highlighted safety tips to keep
people out of the hospital during the hot days of summer.
“We see a number of different injuries during the
summer months,” Dr. Ziembicki said. “We see injuries from firework usage,
outdoor cooking and from campfires. We see a number of different injuries to
the face, eyes and hands.”
Nationally, there are about 10,000 accidents involving
fireworks every year. Injuries can range from burns to dramatic amputations and about five people a year are
admitted to the UPMC Mercy Burn Center with serious injuries related to
fireworks, Dr. Ziembicki said.
So how do you stay safe? Here are three tips:
Leave the fireworks to the professionals.
“[Fireworks] are the most
dangerous of all,” Schrader said. “You don’t know where you got them even if you buy them from a reputable
store. You don’t know who packaged them, and don’t know who had them before
that so they are just dangerous in general.”
Even sparklers, one of
Independence Day’s most popular at-home fireworks, are not safe for use
according to Dr. Ziembicki.
“People underestimate the danger
of a sparkler usage,” said Dr. Ziembicki. “They burn at significantly high
temperatures greater than 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, and they cause a full
thickness injury when they come in contact with the skin. All firework usage
should be left up to professionals. Even the smaller type of fireworks can
cause significant injuries and lifelong disabilities.”
Remember to be careful when using gasoline and charcoal grills.
“You should do a pre-summer check
on your gas grill,” Schrader said.
He recommends cleaning out the grill by getting rid of rust and checking for bugs, spider webs and even small animals that may have lodged in
lines from the winter months. Also, make sure your grill sparker works and your lines are clear before lighting, he said.
The experts also cautioned about the dangers of adding too much accelerant to charcoal grills.
“Once you have your charcoal grill
going, you don’t need to add anymore,” Schrader said. “You don’t need to add any more
fluid to it which in turn will cause a fire.”
Be cautious around the campfire
Although Dr. Ziembicki believes
that campfires can be enjoyed safely, she said it is important to set a
perimeter around the campfire. Added Schrader, never ever pour gasoline on a campfire.