Each year, Americans celebrate Independence Day by viewing grand municipal fireworks displays – or setting off somewhat smaller versions in their own backyards.
Each year, a number of Americans end up in hospital emergency rooms -- or worse -- due to mishaps with those smaller, yet still dangerous, fireworks.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 11 people died from fireworks-related incidents in 2014. Four were killed in house fires started by fireworks. Seven victims died from direct impacts of fireworks.
The 2014 fireworks-related injury statistics are staggering:
- 10,500 people were treated for injuries in U.S. hospital emergency departments
- The bulk of those -- an estimated 7,000 fireworks-related injuries – were treated in E.R.s between June 20 and July 20, 2014
Males are far more likely than females to be injured by fireworks (74 percent to 26 percent). Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 35 percent of the estimated 2014 injuries. Children 5 to 9 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated fireworks-related injuries.
There were an estimated 1,400 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 100 with bottle rockets.
You can enjoy 4th of July fireworks safely by following some common sense recommendations from the National Council on Fireworks Safety.
- Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
- A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
- Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
- Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
- FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
- Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.