Posted on June 27, 2022
Fireworks present a serious risk of personal injury as well as property damage. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2020, fireworks caused 18 deaths and nearly 16,000 injuries requiring medical attention. Two-thirds of fireworks-related injuries treated in emergency rooms occur between mid-June and mid-July.
Injuries can result from smoke inhalation, being hit by a firework, and from falling shrapnel, and can result in burns, vision loss, hearing loss, or loss of fingers or toes. Know the risks associated with both using fireworks and being around someone using fireworks.
Minimize your risk of fireworks-related injuries by following these safety tips:
- Only purchase and use fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.
- Never let children light fireworks or use sparklers unattended. (Sparklers can burn 15 times hotter than boiling water and can melt skin and ignite clothing.)
- Never use fireworks or sparklers while impaired by alcohol or drugs. (In 2020, 66% of those who were injured and 44% of those who died had used alcohol or drugs before the incident.)
- Never throw or point fireworks or sparklers at anyone.
- Never carry fireworks or sparklers in your pocket.
- Lighting fireworks:
- Stabilize fireworks on the ground before lighting, preferably on a fire-safe surface such as a cement pad or a driveway.
- Have a bucket of water or hose around in case of an unexpected fire or firework “duds”.
- Be aware of windy or drought conditions that could alter firework trajectories or start fires.
- Use fireworks in a clear area outdoors, away from dry leaves, people, pets, buildings, vehicles, overhead obstructions, or anything combustible.
- Only light one firework at a time, and then move back quickly to a safe location.
- Never ignite fireworks in a container.
- Never light a firework in your hand and never place any part of your body over a firework while lighting its fuse.
- Safe disposal:
- Don’t pick up or try to re-light a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in water.
- Douse all spent fireworks with water and then place them in a covered metal trash can away from buildings or combustibles until the next day.
Fireworks handled incorrectly can be fatal. According to CPSC, 12 out of the 18 deaths reported in 2020 were related to misuse. Remember, safe use of fireworks is no accident!