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Home > Topics > Mass Casualty Incidents
July 03, 2012
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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Don't let too many sparks fly this Independence Day

Any holiday can permit circumstances beyond normal days, so remember to look out for special circumstances

By Arthur Hsieh

Editor's note: Officials in Corpus Christi, Texas, are taking extra precautions prior to Independence Day to keep fireworks away from the city.

It doesn't feel like a holiday this year, yet that's okay by me. It allows me to consider Independence Day more as a day of respect for our early citizens who gave it their all, both figuratively and literally, to create a country based in liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness.

While we have struggled to achieve that vision for the past 236 years, they are a great set of principles to strive for. So happy Fourth to us, and remember those who continue to serve our interests overseas and at home to protect our basic human rights!

Speaking of home, EMS providers will also be performing their duties on July 4, taking time out of their busy lives to serve their communities.

If you will be one of them, thank you, and I hope the proverbial white cloud hangs over your head.

However, we know any holiday can permit circumstances beyond a normal day, so remember to do a few things:

  1. Holidays bring an increased number of crowds, whether it's the family gathering at the park or hundreds of thousands of people at a fireworks display. If it's been awhile, brush off your local MCI plan, and mentally rehearse those procedures.
  2. Much of the country will experience extreme heat and humidity conditions. Remember to cool and hydrate not only your patients but yourself as well!
  3. As much as they are fun, exploding ordnance (i.e., fireworks) can severely injure someone. Blasts big enough to cause burns can also sever limbs and cause blunt force trauma to body cavities. Don't be focused on the obvious injury; check to make sure there's nothing else going on.

On a holiday, many people who have the day off will be out having fun and enjoying themselves.

For those who will be providing the essential public safety services for their community, we appreciate what you do.

About the author

EMS1 Editor in Chief Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com.
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