“I remember a fireman walking over hot coals that had been dumped on the lawn and burning his feet,” said Dr. Michael Werdmann, an emergency room physician at Bridgeport Hospital. The holiday, and the days surrounding it, are routinely viewed as some of the most dangerous days of the year, due to their volatile mix of heat, alcohol, travel, outdoor cooking, and the use of products such as sparklers and fireworks. “People using a lot of fireworks, both legal and illegal, makes it a lot more dangerous,” said Ron Setkoski, physician assistant in Bridgeport Hospital’s emergency room. Emergency room staff are on the front lines of these injuries, and they typically see the same kinds of cases every Independence Day. According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. emergency rooms treated an estimated 10,500 people for fireworks-related injuries in 2014 alone. When the van began to roll down the steep slope toward the pond with three children inside, McIntosh chased after it and managed to get partially back into the driver’s seat. Other common causes of Fourth of July ER visits include grilling accidents, as in the case of the firefighter with the burned feet, food poisoning, dehydration and heat stroke.
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