Firefighters, health officials warn about heat and firework danger

Jul 17, 2023, 12:59 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Over the weekend, the Salt Lake City Fire Department said there were four reported grass fires in the city. That, plus extreme heat during a time when fireworks are on many people’s minds, the Salt Lake City Fire Department and health officials are urging the community to be aware of heightened fire danger and the consequences that can follow.

The University of Utah Health Burn Center said most injuries happen to people’s hands and faces, and it’s a busy time of year for doctors and first responders. Dr. Giovanni Lewis, medical director of the University of Utah Health Burn Center, said they see thousands of burn victims walk through the door.

“We’ve seen over 6,000 visit types in our outpatient clinic. That’s almost 2,000 visits increase over the last two years,” Lewis said.

That includes children. Lewis said in the last couple of months, they have seen more pediatric patients coming in for campfire and firework injuries.

“The types of injuries we see are usually pretty devastating. They do require surgery, and this is a lifelong injury that they have to deal with,” Lewis said.

In many cases, they said kids have walked over campfires that were thought to be extinguished.

In fact, they said embers cause more injuries than flames.

They say it is important to remember the 3-foot ring of safety around a fire.

“Making sure kids are not going near those embers which stay hot for 12 hours — even longer than that — after the fire goes out,” said burn surgeon Christopher LaChapelle.

The same safety precaution goes for adults around fire.

If one gets burned, they said the best thing to do is remove clothing that may still be causing the burn, use cool water — not ice — wrap the burn area in dry clothing or cloth and call 911.

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Firefighters, health officials warn about heat and firework danger