July 4th Emergency First Aid

July 4th Safety

News 5 dedicated to helping you celebrate this 4th of July as safely as possible.

Fireworks are a July 4th tradition. They can be beautiful, but they can also be dangerous if not handled properly. So instructors at University Hospital are teaching members of the community how to “stop the bleed.”

Around 280 people visit emergency rooms every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. That’s according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Burns usually show up on hands, fingers, and legs.

If you’re shooting fireworks at your home, it’s a good idea to know how to apply a tourniquet.

“Depending on the severity of the injury an arterial bleed, someone could bleed out in just a matter of minutes. But if someone is right there and responds with putting a tourniquet on, that gives that person extra time to get to the hospital in order to receive the care they need,” said Andrew Haiflich, Director of Trauma at University Hospital .

If you don’t have a tourniquet kit, there are several things around your house that you could use.

Haiflich said, “You can use anything from a shirt, a towel or a jacket and you just put that right over the wound and you apply direct pressure right on top of it.”

He says it should take no more than 20 seconds to apply a tourniquet properly, and it needs to be tight.

He said, “When you put on a tourniquet it should always stop the bleeding. So if you put a tourniquet on and they’re still bleeding, then you most likely did not put it on correctly.”

It should be applied about 2 inches higher than the wound.

Another option is to pack the wound to stop the bleed, which can be done with things including a shirt, or towel.

“All you’ll do is take whatever material you have. In this case we have some gauze, and you’re going to pack it all the way down to the base of the wound, and then you’re going to keep applying it on top of itself until you get to the surface of the wound, said Haiflich, as he demonstrated how to pack a wound.

Also make a note of the time the wound is packed or a tourniquet is applied, so when first responders arrive, they know how much time they have. As a rule of thumb, a tourniquet should not be left on for more than 2 hours.

“Stop the Bleed” classes are free, 1-hour classes offered at University Hospital. You can find out how to sign up when you visit this website:

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