The sound of fireworks has been steadily growing as we approach the July 4th holiday. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 200 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. No matter if your celebration includes fireworks at home or attending public fireworks, it is important to remember the fireworks are dangerous.
According to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission there are an average of 6.6 deaths per year from fireworks. The most recent statistics, from 2012, show an estimated 8,700 injuries per year from fireworks. Injuries and fatal accidents do not occur more when using a specific type of fireworks display nor does geography play a role in the risk. The CPSC lists accidents and deaths ranging from sparklers, homemade fireworks, altering commercial and personal fireworks, and the use of professional fireworks by those who have had little or no training.
To maximize your safety while using fireworks, follow these safety tips from the CPSC:
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully
- Keep a buck of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them
Additionally, your fireworks may be permitted in your jurisdiction but also consider any burn bans or high wind advisories.
Always follow the directions on your fireworks and follow all warnings. These warnings may include eye and ear protection. After lighting a fuse remember to get back immediately. Should you suffer a burn from a fireworks accident the U.S. Fire Administration suggests the following:
- Place the burn in cool water for three to five minutes
- Cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth
- See your doctor if the burn is larger than your palm
For more information contact your local fire department or emergency management agency. Fireworks safety and other information is available from the U.S. Fire Administration and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Alexander Zielinski is a volunteer firefighter in Evansville, Indiana and a full-time firefighter in Providence, Kentucky. You can follow him on Twitter @FireSafetyAZ If you enjoyed this article leave a comment or click subscribe above to receive notification of future stories. Read a previous Fire Safety article: Ensuring proper care in a medical emergency