Do you know how to treat a burn from sparklers or a grill this July 4th? Most Americans don’t

By Arianne Cohen

Most Americans don’t understand how likely they are to get burned, nor how to treat the ensuing burns, according to a new survey commissioned by the Arizona Burn Center. And Americans are cocky about their fire-safety know-how: 53% of Americans believe they know some or a lot about burns and treatment.

The survey, conducted on 1,000 adults, indicates that most Americans are woefully unprepared to be around 4th of July celebrations:

    6 in 10 think that it is okay to apply ice to a burn. (It is not. Ice increases tissue damage.)

    89% do not know that the most common burns come from flames, such as those in grills or fire pit.

    1 in 4 think that water is the best way to put out a grill fire. (It is not. A fire extinguisher should be used.)

The immediate treatment for a smaller burn is to put the burn in cool (not cold) water, but not large burns. Know that you can always call 9-1-1 and ask what to do. Grill injuries fuel nearly 20,000 ER visits per year, and 10,600 home fires annually, peaking in July.

Parents are particularly unknowledgeable: Half of the parents who plan to celebrate with fireworks this summer say that they don’t know much about burn injuries and treatment; nearly two-thirds plan to grill, yet 2 in 5 don’t know how to react to a grill fire. A fire extinguisher should always be on hand.

“I encourage anyone planning to grill or use a fire pit or fireworks this summer to review basic safety measures for these activities and understand what to do if someone experiences a burn,” Kevin Foster, director of burn services for the Arizona Burn Center, said in a news release. Here are at-a-glance safety sheets:


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