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Summer safety: Preventing firework burns

Fireworks fill the sky on July 8, 2017 at Offutt’s base lake during the annual fireworks display. Several family activities took place at the celebration including face painting, a treasure hunt and a performance from the Heartland of America Band. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada) Fireworks fill the sky on July 8, 2017 at Offutt’s base lake during the annual fireworks display. Several family activities took place at the celebration including face painting, a treasure hunt and a performance from the Heartland of America Band. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

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As the Fourth of July nears, many communities across the country are gearing up to enjoy firework shows. If your patriotic celebration includes self-starter fireworks or hand-held sparklers, take precautions to avoid injury.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, last year there were 13,000 fireworks-related injuries and 8 deaths. About two-thirds of those injuries happened between June 16 and July 16, and 14 percent of those injuries involved sparklers. Children under the age of 14 suffer nearly half of all sparkler-related injuries.

In the event of an injury, TRICARE has options for you, depending on the type and level of injury. You can seek urgent care or emergency care. Urgent care clinics offer quick walk-in services without an appointment. Check to see your plan’s guidelines for seeking urgent care. If the injury is serious or life-threatening, go to the emergency room immediately or call 911. If you’re enrolled in a TRICARE Prime plan, be sure to contact your primary care manager within 24 hours or on the next business day after you receive emergency care.

Fireworks are best enjoyed when left to the experts. However, here are a few reminders to help keep you and your family safe this Independence Day:

  • Ensure fireworks are legal to buy and use in your community. And be mindful of local fire danger conditions.
  • Talk to your children prior to the festivities about firework safety and be aware of the dangers of sparklers.
  • Keep water on hand, and douse used fireworks with water before throwing away. This can help prevent burns or a trash fire.
  • Be mindful of your clothing around fireworks. Don’t wear any garments that are flowy or drape to the ground.
  • Keep pets indoors. Animals can become frightened and knock into children holding sparklers, or accidently knock over a firework device.
  • Back away to a safe distance once you light a firework fuse.
  • Light fireworks one at a time in a clear and opened area, away from houses, power lines, or trees or bushes.
  • Don’t try to relight duds. Always douse the dud with water before throwing it away.

Do your best to prevent burn related injuries and know your TRICARE treatment options if an injury occurs. Have fun and stay safe this Fourth of July!

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