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Celebrate Independence Day Safely this July 4th

Joliet, IL (June 27, 2011) —On the 4th of July in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. As always, this most American of holidays will be marked by red, white and blue flags, parades, road trips, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the country. Silver Cross Hospital offers some tips to help you and your loved ones celebrate our nation’s Independence Day safely.

july4 mp900341745Traveling in your holiday plans?
With more people on the roads during the holiday, it’s more important than ever to drive safely—which means being well rested, buckling up, observing speed limits and following the rules of the road. Also carry a disaster supplies kit in your trunk and pay attention to the weather forecast for your destination. Weather Web sites can help you avoid storms that could impact your safety. If you plan on drinking, designate a driver who won’t drink.

Cueing up the Grill?
Nothing says 4th of July than enjoying a sizzling steak or hot dog on your backyard grill. During the holidays people are more relaxed and may have their guard down when it comes to practicing safety techniques – even when grilling. “We see many patients present to our emergency department with burns from the outdoor grill because they weren’t paying close attention to the fire,” says Daniel Checco, D.O., Medical Director for the Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center in Homer Glen.

So always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited. And keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire. And make sure everyone else, including children and pets, stay away from the grill. Finally, keep yourself safe by using the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.

Topping off your celebration with Fireworks?
Here are some powerful numbers about fireworks injuries:

  • There are approximately 8,500 fireworks-related injuries each year in the United States. Of these, about 2,000 are eye injuries. One-third of these injuries result in permanent eye damage and one-fourth in permanent vision loss or blindness.
  • The most dangerous kind of firework is the bottle rocket because they fly erratically, often causing bystander injuries. The bottles and cans used to launch bottle rockets often explode, showering fragments of glass and metal.
  • Sparklers account for three-quarters of all firework injuries in preschoolers. Young children find these sticks of fire – burning as hot as 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit – irresistible to touch.


“Since more fireworks are used on and around the Fourth of July than in any other celebration, there is a larger concentration of injuries during this time,” says Dr. Checco.

You can enjoy a spectacular fireworks show safely by following a few tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

  • Do not drink alcohol and set off fireworks.
  • Always follow label directions on all fireworks to properly use them.
  • Have an adult present when using fireworks; never give fireworks to small children, and never leave older kids unsupervised with fireworks.
  • Use fireworks outdoors only.
  • Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket), and when you're finished with sparklers and other fireworks, soak them so you know they're out.
  • Never re-light a "dud" firework (wait 15 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).
  • Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • Wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.


Finally, what's the safest way to spend your Fourth of July?
“It's really a lot safer to go to a professional show at one of the many area park districts,” says Dr. Checco. “By letting trained experts light the fireworks, all you have to do is sit there and enjoy the show.”

Silver Cross Emergency Services
As an emergency department designated as a Level II Trauma Center, Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet is staffed 24 hours a day with a team of highly skilled physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and support staff specially trained in the emergency treatment of adults, children and infants.  Along with Silver Cross’ recognition as an Emergency Department approved for pediatrics, the hospital has in-house pediatricians 24 hours a day from Children’s Memorial in Chicago to consult when necessary. Further, Silver Cross has provided the residents of Will, Grundy and southern Cook Counties with Level II Trauma services since 1988, and also serves as the resource hospital for the Will-Grundy Emergency Medical System, training paramedics from 30 towns for over 30 years. Silver Cross also has a special laboratory in the Emergency Department that processes results immediately.  For more information and a directional map to the Silver Cross Emergency Department, call (815) 740-7119 or visit

Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center
The development of free-standing emergency centers throughout the country were in response to consumers who want more convenient ways to care for injuries and illnesses that are too serious to wait for a doctor’s appointment.  Silver Cross opened the first licensed free-standing emergency care center in the State at 143rd St and Bell Rd. in Homer Glen. 

The Emergency Care Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and staffed by Silver Cross Hospital’s board certified emergency medicine physicians and nurses. Paramedics are onsite 24/7 at the Homer Glen facility to immediately transfer patients by ambulance to the nearby hospital if they need to be admitted to the hospital.

Patients can check ER wait times—if any at for both the Homer Glen Free-Standing Emergency Care Center as well as Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet.

In the same building, Silver Cross also offers MRI, CT, X-ray, Ultrasound EKG and laboratory services. And there are several physician offices including a pediatrician, podiatrist, spine surgeon, urologists, cardiologists, and family practice physicians. For more information, call (708) 364-6337.


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