Red Cross offers Independence Day safety tips

July 1, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 6 a.m. July 1, 2012

Independence Day means many people plan to discharge fireworks and fire up grills for backyard barbecues — but both activities can cause burns and fires.

Experts at the local American Red Cross chapter remind revelers to practice some simple safety tips to keep the holiday safe and fun.

Make sure exposed skin is covered with appropriate sun block before heading out to parades, picnics or other outdoor activities.

  • Keep small children a safe distance from hot barbecue grills and outdoor fireplaces.
  • Always watch the barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors — not in a house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure children and pets stay away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches or anything flammable.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Never let children hold lit fireworks. Even sparklers can be dangerous for young children.
  • Plan to attend a professional fireworks display instead of creating your own.

If mishaps occur on Independence Day, burns should be treated immediately:

  • Stop the burning. Put out the flames or remove the victim from the source of the burn.
  • Cool the burn. Use large amounts of water to cool the burned area. Do not use ice or ice water other than on small superficial burns; ice causes loss of body heat. Use whatever resources are available — tub, shower or garden hose. You can apply soaked towels, sheets or other wet cloths to a burned face or other areas that cannot be immersed. Be sure to keep cloths cool by adding more water.
  • Cover the burn. Use dry, sterile dressings or a clean cloth to cover a burn. Loosely bandage them in place. Covering the burn helps keep air out and reduces pain. Covering the burn also prevents infection. If the burn covers a large area of the body, cover it with clean, dry sheets or other cloth.
  • For minor burns and burns with open blisters that do not require medical care, wash the areas with soap and water. Keep the area clean. Put on antibiotic ointment, available from any drug store. Watch for signals of infection.
  • Critical burns need immediate medical attention. Call 911 if a burn victim is having difficulty breathing; if more than one part of the body is burned; if burns occur on the head, neck, hands, feet or genitals; if a child or elderly person has been burned; or chemicals, electricity or explosions have caused burns.
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