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Updated Jul 4, 2014 - 2:18 pm

Valley ERs prepping for Fourth of July injuries

In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, Brian Herrman, a co-owner of Red Hot Fireworks in Phoenix, puts out new items on the shelves as sales of fireworks have been brisk at the store. Although Phoenix has gone a full 120 days without any measurable precipitation there has not been any serious effort in the drought-stricken states to restrict fireworks. Arizona actually loosened its restrictions this year and allowed residents of the two most populated cities to set off fireworks around Independence Day. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX -- Emergency room doctors throughout the Valley are prepared for a busy Fourth of July weekend.

Fireworks should be the only things blowing up this weekend but oftentimes doctors deal with gruesome burn injuries from fireworks that can lead to patients losing limbs.

Kevin Haselhorst, emergency medicine physician with Abrazo Health's Arrowhead and West Valley hospitals, said Independence Day is a fun and important holiday but it is hard to be independent when you're missing a limb.

"Primarily I see the hand injuries, burn injuries, and some facial injuries," he said. "Eye injuries in particular with firecracker burns."

Haselhorst said firework injuries are very frequent around the Fourth of July.

"A lot of times people get into the moment and they don't anticipate that it is going to result in an accident," he said.

There are, however, a few things Haselhorst suggests Valley residents do during the holiday weekend to keep themselves out of the emergency room.

"Flammable materials can cause accidents but that's not to say you couldn't plan ahead for the accident to happen and to have a designated [emergency] plan," he said.

Haselhorst said that plan should include keeping a bucket of ice water ready in case of a burn injury and designating a driver in case a trip to the emergency room is needed.

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About the Author


Cooper Rummell is a Southern California native. He moved to Arizona in 2012 to pursue a bachelor's degree in journalism at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. Since May 2013, Cooper has worked as a desk anchor and reporter at KTAR. He has a passion for investigative political reporting and covering the local crime beat.

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