Fireworks SafetyJuly 3, 2019
It’s difficult to imagine an American summer without the holidays. It is even more challenging to imagine Independence Day without the fireworks and celebrations. While fireworks are one of the staples to an American tradition about freedom and democracy, there are dangerous aspects to these incredible displays. In fact, about “81 percent of the victims were treated at the hospital emergency department and then released.”1 Additionally, almost “17 percent of patients were treated and transferred to another hospital, or admitted to the hospital.”2
Follow the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s safety tips3 when using fireworks:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit – hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
Children are often most at risk for being involved in a fireworks accident. Young children should never hold or use fireworks as they can be very dangerous. As referenced above, some sparklers are able to heat up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. There are numerous other alternatives to fireworks and sparklers that are much safer and still fun. Glow sticks are a great other option that do not explode nor heat to extreme temperatures. If there are children around fireworks, they must be closely supervised for their protection.
Even if it is legal to put on a personal firework display at home, the best way to avoid an accident is to attend public fireworks gatherings with family and friends. Rather than putting yourself or others in potential danger, allow the professionals to take care of the explosives for a fun, safe holiday.
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1Tu, Yongling, and Jason Ng. “Fireworks-Related Deaths, Emergency Department-Treated Injuries, and Enforcement Activities During 2018.” 2018 Fireworks Annual Report, June 2019.
3“Fireworks Injuries.” Fireworks Information Center, US Consumer Product Safety Commission, www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks.