The Fourth of July brings many Americans together for BBQ, celebration, and fireworks. Fireworks and Independence Day have become synonymous. Though the bright and vibrant spectacles in the sky make for an amazing conclusion for celebration, there are many people who become injured or become fatalities because of fireworks. Know the facts, and remember to keep yourself and your family safe.
Fireworks Safety Tips
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Accidents and Injuries from Fireworks
In 2017, the National Safety Council reported these statistics on injuries and accidents caused by fireworks:
- Eight people died and over 12,000 were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents
- 50% of the injuries were to children and young adults under age 20
- Over two-thirds (67%) of injuries took place from June 16 to July 16
- The majority of these incidents were due to amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks or explosives
- Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and nearly 17,000 other fires
Stats on Emergency Room Department Visits because of Fireworks
If these statistics on the dangers of fireworks are not enough to convince you to take great care this holiday, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reported these alarming figures in their report, Fireworks-Related Deaths, Emergency Department-Treated Injuries, and Enforcement Activities During 2019.
- Of the 7,300 estimated fireworks-related injuries sustained, 66 percent were to males and 34 percent were to females.
- Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 36% of the estimated fireworks-related injuries. Similar to last year, nearly half of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age.
- Children 0 to 4 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries (5.3 injuries per 100,000 people). Older teens, 15 to 19 years of age, had the second highest estimated rate (4.4 injuries per 100,000 people).
- There were an estimated 900 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets.
- There were an estimated 800 emergency department-treated injuries associated with firecrackers. Of these, an estimated 24 percent were associated with small firecrackers, 16 percent with large firecrackers, 3 percent with illegal firecrackers, and the remaining 57 percent were associated with firecrackers of an unspecified size.
- The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (an estimated 30 percent); legs (an estimated 23 percent); eyes (an estimated 15 percent); head, face, and ears (an estimated 15 percent); and arms (an estimated 10 percent).
- Fifty-eight percent of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to hands, fingers, arms, and legs.
- Approximately 87 percent of the victims were treated at a hospital emergency department and then released. An estimated 12 percent of patients were treated and transferred to another hospital, or admitted to the hospital.
This is a good reminder that even the most common and seemingly harmless fireworks are seriously dangerous. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reminds us of the following safety tips 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 – 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.
Fireworks are beautiful but they are also extremely dangerous. Keep these tips in mind and enjoy an accident-free holiday with your loved ones. And should you or someone you know become injured due to fireworks, call us for a free consultation to review the details of your case.