Safety tips for your Independence Day

OKLAHOMA CITY – Many Oklahomans will celebrate Independence Day with barbeques, festivals and other outside activities. Along with taking precautions outdoors in the summer heat, EMSA medical experts warn citizens about fireworks safety and provides the following tips should injury occur.

“Minor burns can be treated at home successfully with common first aid techniques, but second-degree burns need medical attention,” said Lara O’Leary, EMSA spokeswoman. “If there is any question as to the severity of a burn, seek medical attention immediately, whether by personal vehicle or by calling 9-1-1.”

First-degree or minor burns (only outer layer of skin affected; red, painful, dry skin):

  • Hold burned area under cold running water to reduce the heat level. This also helps clean the wound.
  • Dry the burned area with clean dry cloth.
  • Apply a topical anesthetic burn spray or use aloe Vera lotion or cream to moisturize the burned area.
  • Administer an analgesic like acetaminophen or aspirin as needed.

Second-degree or more serious burns (deeper layers of skin affected; red, painful, could be wet-appearing skin; could have blisters; up to black or white, dry skin for most severe burns):

  • Immerse affected areas of skin in clean, cold water and call 9-1-1.
  • Cover wounds in clean, dry cloth such as towels, sheets or gauze.

Thousands of people are taken to hospital emergency rooms in the United States every year because of injuries from fireworks — including bottle rockets, sparklers and firecrackers.  The most common fireworks injuries involve the hands, fingers, eyes, head and face.

Tips and warnings:

  • For a burn larger than the palm of your hand, call 9-1-1.
  • If an eye injury occurs from fireworks, do not rub the eye. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Watch for shock symptoms in serious burn victims.
  • Don’t apply ointments, butter or salves to burns; they trap in the heat.
  • Do not rupture blisters caused by burns.
  • Treat the pain from a burn with ibuprofen.
  • Extinguish any fire on clothing or in the hair by smothering with a blanket or having the victim roll on the ground.