The spectacular firework shows we enjoy on the 4th of July are put on with a lot of planning and caution. Around the 4th, fireworks are available everywhere, even your local grocery store. These personal fireworks don’t require the planning, caution, or permits that professional fireworks require, but they can still be dangerous.
According to a report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 11 recreational firework-related deaths in 2014. Every year, fireworks cause 10,500 injuries on average that require emergency treatment. About 7,000 of those take place in one month surrounding July 4th. Burns make up more than half of all firework-related injuries.
The CPSC reports that most firework-related injuries are connected to misuse or malfunction of fireworks. Examples of misuse and malfunction included:
- Lighting fireworks while holding them in your hand
- Getting too close to lit fireworks
- Not following directions when setting off fireworks
- Setting off fireworks too close to another person
- Taking fireworks apart
- Fireworks that tipped over while lit
- Fireworks that ignited too early
- Fireworks that blowup
Last year, a man in Texas died after launching a firework off his head, and another man died after lighting a firework off his chest.
Check out these easy safety tips to reduce the risk of injury while using fireworks:
- Do not use fireworks indoors, only light fireworks outside
- Do not let children light or play with fireworks
- Keep a water source near to douse flames and sparks
- Do not try to relight a “dud”, a firework that does not go off the first time
- Do not try to dismantle or alter the fireworks, use them only as intended
- Do not try to light old fireworks
- Check your surroundings before you light fireworks, make sure you are in an open area where vegetation cannot catch fire
Fireworks are dangerous in any form; sparklers can be as dangerous as box fireworks with loud explosions. Sparklers can reach temperatures of 3000º F. For comparison, stainless steel melts at 2750º F. Sparklers can be particularly dangerous because they are held while lit. They may seem like a safe firework alternative that kids can use, but if a child drops a sparkler on their foot, it can quickly burn through a shoe or ignite clothes.
Follow our safety tips to keep your holidays happy!