Jun 29, 2012 11:00 AM

Author: Annette Matherly, RN


There is nothing more American than July 4th with backyard barbeques, parades, and fireworks displays.  

But as your sparklers light up the night sky remember that their tips burn at greater than 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than the temperature it takes to melt glass. These are temperatures hot enough to sear through skin and ignite clothing in an instant.

I have worked at the University of Utah's Burn Center as a nurse for more than twenty-two years, and please believe me when I say there is NOTHING that will tug at your heart more than the sobs of a loved one who has been burn injured.

Firework accidents usually affect the young, and the life-changing journey to recovery can be long and painful. I remember reading this quote many years ago, it was written by a teenager who had sustained a burn injury:

"Whoever said beauty was only skin deep…had skin"

Burn scars can last forever. Be a hero and keep your family safe this July. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Here are a few tips from American Burn Association:

  • Never build or experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Fireworks should be handled by adults, not children.
  • Read and follow all firework instructions.
  • Be sure spectators are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Light fireworks away from houses, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
  • Do not throw, point or shoot fireworks toward people, pets, buildings, or vehicles.
  • Never try to re-ignite fireworks that have malfunctioned. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Keep a bucket of water, a garden hose, or fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Be cautious with sparklers. They can be more dangerous than you might think.

Annette Matherly, RN

Annette Matherly, RN works at the University of Utah Hospital's burn unit

prevention fire safety burn

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