Stay Safe this 4th of July
Friday night, Rock the Dock brought an impressive fireworks
display to the Lake Springfield Marina. Fire officials say licensed fireworks
displays like the annual event on Lake Springfield are the safest way to
celebrate Independence Day with your family.
Many families celebrate at home, with small fireworks and sparklers they purchase at fireworks stands or in seasonal aisles at stores. The Springfield Fire Department says this is a practice to stay away from.
"Leave it to the professionals," Capt. Mitch Ruger said. "We're not anti-American or anti-patriotic. We're just pro-safety."
Ruger said first responders end up on some kind of fire or injury call due to at-home displays just about every 4th of July holiday.
"We think of something as innocent as a sparkler, but if you think about that sparkler, it's a glowing rod that burns at around 1,700 degrees," Ruger said. "And you're going to let your kid run around with that with other kids?"
That’s not the only hazard families face while celebrating. It’s common knowledge everyone should coat their skin with some SPF, but it’s also important to check the label on sunscreen closely to make sure it hasn’t expired.
"If you have older bottles, they may not have an expiration date on them," Dr. Lucinda Buescher with SIU Heathcare Dermatology said. "But they're pretty generous. Usually when you buy a new bottle, when I look, it's usually a year or two out. Technically if you're using the appropriate amount--if you're using a Ping-Pong ball size amount on your whole body--a 4 oz. bottle is only going to have four applications."
New bottles of sunscreen will have an expiration date. If you come across a bottle that doesn't, Buescher said to toss it out and grab a new one. Older sunscreen also might not be protecting the wearer from all the rays that can cause skin cancer and premature aging.
"It says on the bottle it’s a broad-spectrum sunscreen," Buescher said. "It's going to protect you from most of the ultraviolet radiation that's out there, including the burning rays, obviously, but also the tanning rays that we now know contribute the skin cancer, melanoma and aging."
She also emphasized it’s possible to get a sunburn on a cloudy day, or even late in the day. Even long-lasting sunscreen must be applied every 80 minutes.