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HCA Healthcare/HealthONE’s Swedish Medical Center Promotes Fireworks Safety

Safety tips to help you stay out of the ER this season.

HCA Healthcare/HealthONE’s Swedish Medical Center Promotes Fireworks Safety
Englewood, CO, July 01, 2020 --( It’s time for fireworks to burst in the air, but getting distracted by the rockets’ red glare can lead to burn injuries and a trip to the hospital for the Fourth of July.

“We want people to be safe as they celebrate Independence Day,” said Benson Pulikkottil, MD, medical director of Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America at Swedish Medical Center. “It takes only a moment of distraction for disaster to happen.”

Most Independence Day celebrations center around fireworks. Dr. Pulikkottil has a simple warning: “There are no safe fireworks.” That’s why he recommends using professionals for fireworks shows.

However, if you do plan to shoot your own projectiles, he offers a few specific tips:

- Create a “blast zone” that is away from structures, people, dry grass and other flammable items.
- Designate a sober adult as the safety person, another sober adult as the “shooter” and someone to be in charge of keeping children clear of the “shooting” area. Let children enjoy the show, not be part of it.
- Make sure the “shooter” is not wearing loose clothing that could ignite, and follows all directions on the fireworks label. If the device does not have a warning and/or instructions label, do not fire it.
- Get a flashlight to light the area so the “shooter” can see what he or she is doing.
- Never stand over an item that does not fire.
- Never throw fireworks. A malfunctioning fuse could cause the item to go off in your hand.
- Make sure a fire extinguisher, hose or bucket of water is nearby just in case there is an accident.

One of the most dangerous items are common sparklers, Dr. Pulikkottil said. Aside from emitting hot sparks while it is lit, the end result of a sparkler is a glowing hot piece of metal.

“You just cannot be too careful with fireworks,” Dr. Pulikkottil said.

Fireworks are not the only danger related to the Fourth of July. In past years, Dr. Pulikkottil has also treated burns from outdoor grills. Usually, the burns are what are classified as “flash injuries,” which may be not very deep, but are often painful.

“These injuries often occur when someone is trying to light the grill and a pocket of gas ignites,” Dr. Pulikkottil said. “It can also happen when someone uses something other than lighter fluid to light charcoal.”

Simple steps, such as checking hoses before using a grill can go a long way toward keeping you safe. Other tips include:

- Before using the grill, make sure it’s at least 10 feet away from other objects, including the house or bushes.
- Always follow manufacturers’ instructions when operating a grill.
- Never use a match to check for leaks.
- Keep gas hoses as far away from grease and hot surfaces as possible.
- Replace nicked or scratched connectors.
- Check tubes for blockage from insects or grease using a pipe cleaner.
- Never start a gas grill with the lid closed.
- Never use barbecue grills indoors.
- Keep lighter fluid container away from the grill.
- Utility/Barbeque lighters are not safe for children and should not be left outdoors where the elements may weaken or damage the plastic.
- Always turn on utility light before you turn on gas or propane.
- Always shut off propane tank valve when not in use.

Burns, however, are not the only injuries that can occur during the summer. Carelessness with fireworks and summer yard maintenance can also cause injuries to the hands, which require special care provided by a team of hand specialists at BRCA at Swedish Medical Center.

Proper care for a hand injury, according to Dr. Pulikkottil, begins shortly after the injury occurs. For example, if there is a complete amputation of a digit(s), call 911 first and work to control any bleeding. Then, safely collect the amputated parts and keep them moist and cool. Don’t put the amputated digit directly on ice, though, as that can cause even more damage. Remember, time is important: muscles can be damaged within eight hours if not treated.

For severe lacerations, such as dog bites, focus on stopping or controlling the bleeding and getting the wound clean. If there is a large foreign body still in the wound – a nail, for example – leave it there. Let the medical professionals remove it.

“We are committed to providing the best outcomes to our patients,” Dr. Pulikkottil said. “We want to make sure that they get back to living their best life, no matter their injury.”

Learn more about the comprehensive burn and reconstructive center at Swedish Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center located in Englewood, Colorado. Visit

About Swedish

Swedish Medical Center is located in the south metro Denver area where it has been a proud member of the community for more than 110 years. An acute care hospital with 408 licensed beds, annually Swedish cares for more than 200,000 patients with a team of approximately 2,000 dedicated employees, 300 volunteers and 1,400 physicians.

With stroke door to treatment times averaging just 20 minutes, Swedish serves as the Rocky Mountain Region’s referral center for the most advanced stroke treatment, and was the state’s first Joint Commission certified Comprehensive Stroke Center. Swedish also serves as the region’s neurotrauma and orthopedic trauma provider and is a level I trauma facility with a dedicated burn and reconstructive center. Over 150 facilities regularly transfer highly complex cases to Swedish.

Swedish Medical Center is proud to be a part of the HealthONE system of hospitals that earned the ranking as the #7 corporate philanthropist in the metro area and was the only hospital system ranked in the top 10. HealthONE contributed more than $1.5 million in 2018 and supports over 150 organizations through cash and in-kind donations. Additional information is available at
Contact Information
Swedish Medical Center
Kara Hamersky
(303) 817-5708

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