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Metro experts offer tips for staying safe while shooting off fireworks, first aid essentials

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As many people in the Kansas City metro know from the late-night bangs heard in many neighborhoods, the fireworks have already started ahead of Independence Day.

With the big day upon us, the staff at Research Medical Center's Grossman Burn Center said the number one safety tip is to not shoot off fireworks. But that's not reality for many people who like to blow things up on the Fourth of July.

Bob Hafner said the problem is sometimes the thing that gets blown up is you or someone nearby, causing injuries or worse.

“And then there is the finger amputations,” Hafner said. “Someone holds on to something too long, and the force of that explosion causes them to lose a digit."

In most cases that Hafner treats, alcohol is the gasoline poured on the fire.

“Without that impulse control, people do things that they really shouldn't do,” he said. “Shoot bottle rockets at each other, Roman candles at each other, say 'Hey, how many fireworks can I group together to make a really big explosion?' That type of thing."

Taking alcohol out of the equation and adding water to the equation can help if an accident happens. Having a bucket of water, sand or a blanket to smother flames or soothe a burn is essential to first aid treatment.

Cold water, not ice is critical. Ice is too cold and could cause more damage.

Even if it doesn't look like a deep burn, the medical staff at the Grossman Burn Center warn blistering burns that turn white or dark red and become numb need professional medical attention. Skin infections like staff and strep could get into the blood stream and make what could be a minor injury a serious, life-threatening one.