​Smart Tips for a Safer Summer

During the summer, UPMC Mercy sees an increase in its number of emergency, burn, and trauma patients. Learn what you can do to stay healthy and safe this summer.

At the region’s only combined Level 1 Trauma and Comprehensive Burn Center, UPMC Mercy’s physicians and staff know from experience that treasured summer traditions can lead to serious, life-changing injuries.

“Accidents can happen in a split second, but with caution, many can be prevented,” says Michelle Fontana, BSN, manager of Trauma Clinical Services at UPMC Mercy. As a Level 1 Trauma Center, the hospital is focused on providing the highest quality trauma and burn care in western Pennsylvania, as well as leadership in education and community outreach.

“The UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Center offers injury prevention programs year-round, including a free fireworks safety clinic in July,” adds Ms. Fontana.

Here are a few ways you and your family can avoid injury while enjoying two of summer's favorite outdoor activities:

Riding ATVs

As the popularity of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) has increased, so have the number of accidental injuries, especially to the head and spine. "ATVs are powerful and potentially dangerous vehicles that can cause serious injuries,” says Ms. Fontana.

To stay safe on the trails, be sure to:

  • Always wear a helmet .
  • Only ride off-road and avoid unfamiliar terrain.
  • Never let children drive adult ATVs.


Each year, thousands of people are hurt by fireworks, which can cause severe burns, scarring, permanent disfigurement, blindness, and death. Even sparklers can be dangerous.

“The tip of a sparkler burns at 1,200 degrees, hot enough to cause a third-degree burn,” Ms. Fontana explains.

To enjoy fireworks safely:

  • Don’t buy or use illegal fireworks.
  • Only use fireworks permitted under state law.
  • Take the family to watch a professional fireworks display in your community.
  • Teach your children to stay away from firecrackers, sparklers, and other fireworks.

A Life-Saving Difference

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, severely injured adults who receive care at a Level I Trauma Center like UPMC Mercy are 25 percent more likely to survive than those treated at a nontrauma center. That designation allows UPMC Mercy to provide the highest level of trauma care.

“Our multidisciplinary team of experienced specialists is ready around the clock to care for seriously injured patients,” says Tom Gronow, the hospital’s vice president of operations.

The UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Center is a state-of-the-art unit dedicated exclusively to the care of trauma and burn patients.

“It requires a serious commitment of resources to provide such exceptional care,” says Mr. Gronow. “However, there is no substitute for the medical expertise of a Level 1 Trauma Center when it comes to treating serious life-threatening and disabling injuries. We see proof of that in the lives we save every year.”

Smart Tips for ATV safety this summer.

Contact Us

For more information about fireworks safety, please contact the UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Center at 412-232-8375.

Additional Safety Tips


Summer Safety and Burn Prevention

Watch a video outlining safe ways to enjoy summer, featuring burn experts from UPMC Mercy, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Bomb Squad and the Allegheny County Fire Marshall's Office.

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