Fireworks go hand-in-hand with 4th of July celebrations. It’s a great time for families and neighbors to enjoy outdoor activities, including watching and lighting fireworks. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 11,100 firework-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2016. Of that number, hand and finger injuries attributed to 33%, head, face, and ear injuries attributed to 20%, with 31% if all injuries occurring between young adults between 20 to 24 years of age (CPSC 2015).
While July 4th celebrations are a staple in many American lives, it’s important to take the precautions to enjoy celebrations safely; never forget that fireworks are dangerous. You can help prevent fireworks-related injuries by following these safety tips (NCFS 2017):
- Obey local fireworks laws.
- Read manufacturer warnings.
- Provide adult supervision for all fireworks activities; never allow children to light or play with fireworks.
- Always use fireworks outdoors, away from vehicles, buildings, people, and animals.
- Wear safety glasses.
- Wet the ground where you intend to light fireworks before and after lighting fireworks.
- Keep a water hose and bucket full of water nearby.
- Consider giving children glow sticks rather than sparklers; sparklers can get hot enough to melt some metals.
- Do not place your body above fireworks when lighting.
- Pour water on spent fireworks and place them in a metal trash can away from buildings and other combustible materials; wait 24 hours before disposing with other waste materials.
- Never re-light a “dud” firework; wait 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water before disposing with other waste materials.
- Light one firework at a time and move away quickly.
- Never light fireworks in glass or metal containers.
- Never store fireworks for later use.
- Do not light fireworks when drinking alcohol.
Consider attending a professional fireworks display before lighting your own. If you choose to light your own fireworks, use the above-mentioned tips to ensure a safe and fun July 4th celebration.
United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. (CPSC). n.d. Fireworks Information Center: Fireworks Injuries. Available from: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks/
CPSC. 2015. 2014 Fireworks Annual Report: Fireworks-Related Deaths, Emergency Department-Treated Injuries, and Enforcement Activities During 2014. Available from: http://www.cpsc.gov//Global/Research-and-Statistics/Injury-Statistics/Fuel-Lighters-and-Fireworks/Fireworks_Report_2014.pdf
National Council on Fireworks Safety. (NCFS). 2017. Recommended Safety Tips. Available from: http://www.fireworkssafety.org/safety-tips/