Hillcrest Burn Center Preparing For Busy Week After Fourth Of July Holiday

Monday, July 4th 2022, 6:01 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

While many people are off work enjoying Independence Day, the Hillcrest Burn Center is extra staffed and anticipates a long night.

First responders would like to remind residents that fireworks are illegal within Tulsa City limits. They have a message for folks looking to legally light up the sky on Independence Day.

There are several safety tips you should take when handling fireworks, like tying your hair up, wearing closed-toed shoes, and distancing everything from the firework.

There's no room for the emergency room on folks' 4th of July itineraries.

"We really want to celebrate this holiday. Celebrate our independence. Have good memories from 4th of July and the days surrounding that as opposed to spending time in the hospital having dressing changes and significant amount of pain," said Tara Wilson, Surgeon at Hillcrest Burn Center.

Hillcrest's Burn Center normally sees a handful of people per week, but within the 24 to 48-hour window during Independence Day, it could see more than 30 patients with various burns.

"Losing fingers and losing eyes and things from the explosions," said Dr. Wilson.

Dr. Tara Wilson said firework-related burn injuries could be the result of irresponsible drinking, ignoring instructions, misfires or kids getting contact burns from sparklers that can reach over 2,000 degrees.

"As the sparkler gets closer to being done, they just don't know what to do with it cause their minds just don't work fast enough," said Dr. Wilson.

She said the packaging makes fireworks look kid friendly.

"That gives this impression that these are toys," said Dr. Wilson.

Wilson said patients sometimes don't come to the hospital immediately and the number of patients skyrockets to the hundreds the week following the 4th.

"Fireworks pose an increased threat to acquiring a burn injury and sometimes even worse than that, a blast associated injury, because these fireworks have gotten so much more powerful, and the more powerful fireworks have become more accessible to the general public," said Dr. Wilson.

First responders are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

"We hope everyone stays safe. That was our primary goal. We have a lot of extra patrols coming on for the night. Especially in the downtown areas and the areas that, throughout the last several years, we've seen a lot of aggressive activity," said Katie Whitehead, Tulsa Police.

"We know that there could be a fire a block away or two miles away, or there could be five fires in the city throughout, so we have to make sure there are people ready to respond in the areas. If we use a lot of resources in one spot, we will call back the shift that has gone home already," said Andy Little, Tulsa Fire Department. "The best thing to do is just go to the free, professional shows. They're gonna be better than you could do at home anyways, and you don't have to worry about those injuries or potential fires in your home."

Andy Little with the Tulsa Fire Department said you must watch your kids.

"If you're not monitoring your children, you're not watching them and something like that happens, you can't take that back and they're gonna be in significant pain," said Little.

The Hillcrest Burn Center said to keep a close eye on minor burns; clean them and apply burn ointment; but if your skin is blistering, or you're in pain, go to the doctor.