Fireworks are an exciting part of the Fourth of July tradition. Many people include them in their Independence Day celebrations without realizing the dangers that exist. According to the National Fire Protection Association, every year in the U.S., more fires are reported on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year, and fireworks cause nearly half of them. If you are using fireworks this year, please take a moment to read the safety tips below so that you and your family can enjoy a safe holiday.
Firework Safety Tips:
- Store in a safe place. Keep fireworks stored in a cool, dry place and out of children's reach.
- Outdoor use only. Fireworks should only be used outdoors away from structures and flammable materials, including dry grass.
- Transport with caution. Never carry fireworks in your pocket and avoid wearing loose fitting clothing.
- Obey local laws. Never use illegal explosives or homemade fireworks. Both can be extremely dangerous.
- Follow the instructions. Carefully read the instructions on the packaging before use and only use the fireworks as they are intended to be used. Do not try to alter or combine them.
- Have water handy. Always keep a bucket of water or hose nearby in case of an emergency. Soak any fireworks in the water before throwing them away.
- Protect the lighter. The person lighting the fireworks should always wear protective eye wear and never light fireworks in metal or glass containers.
- One at a time. Only one firework should be lit at a time. Never attempt to relight a firework that didn't work.
Consumer Firework Use:
Be extra careful while using consumer fireworks, which include sparklers and firecrackers. These products burn at a temperature hot enough to cause devastating third-degree burns, fires and even deaths. The National Council on Fireworks Safety suggests only children over the age of 12 should handle sparklers of any type.
Know the Facts:
- In 2009, fireworks caused an estimated 18,000 reported fires, including 1,300 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in no reported civilian deaths, 30 civilian injuries and $38 million in direct property damage.
- In 2009, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,800 people for fireworks related injuries; 53% of 2009 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 42% were to the head.
- The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 10-14, with more than twice the risk for the general population.
- On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
Source: NFPA’s Fireworks report, by John R. Hall, Jr., June 2011
Check out this public service announcement from the NFPA about consumer firework safety!