Clearly our country is stretching the definition of “month” by defining June 1 to July 4 as National Fireworks Safety Month, which we do, but we’re okay with that, since the injury and fire risks go up before the fourth. In fact, 70 to 75 percent of fireworks-related injuries each year occur during a 30-day period surrounding the July 4th holiday (June 23--July 23 specifically). So, let’s get the word out now before summer celebration plans get blown to bits by a fireworks accident.
Ugly stats on fireworks injuries
- Fireworks injuries are often severe. Seven of every 100 with a fireworks-related injury end up hospitalized.
- Children are often those injured by fireworks. About four of every 10 fireworks injuries are to children 14 and under.
- Under-the-table fireworks are deadly. Illegal and homemade fireworks were responsible for every single fireworks-related death in 2012.
- Guys don’t do fireworks better. Sorry, gents, but you are statistically three times more likely to be the one injured in fireworks accidents compared to women. And boys aged 10--14 years have the highest rate of injury.
- Small fireworks do big damage. Sparklers and firecrackers are together responsible for 35 percent of all fireworks injuries.
- Hands are a common casualty. Injuries from fireworks do damage to all body parts, but 34 percent of injuries are to the hands, followed by facial injuries (12 percent), and then the eyes (17 percent).
- Fireworks injuries are expensive. Fireworks-related injuries add up to an estimated $100 million annually.
Tips for safe fireworks fun
- Leave it to the pros. Yes, fireworks are legal in some states and municipalities. That said, the CDC and CPSC encourage us to let fireworks be be done by trained fireworks experts.
- Have adult supervision of all fireworks activities. Even sparklers, which burn at around 2,000 degrees, can do serious damage.
- Keep a ready supply of water in case a fire occurs.
- Don’t let young children take part, except by observing.
- Keep all parts of your body out of the line of fire. Many injuries occur while lighting fireworks fuses from this error in judgment.
- Don’t attempt to relight fireworks that don’t fully ignite.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Only light your fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Don’t carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Don’t ignite fireworks from metal or glass containers – they can become shrapnel!
- Douse the spent fireworks with water before calling it an evening, and especially before discarding your fireworks.
- Are fireworks legal in your area? Make sure before buying or using them.
Take fireworks safety a few steps further
- Get a free poster from the CDC, alerting us to the fact that Sparklers Can Burn at 2,000°F, Hot as a Blow Torch.
- Watch this fireworks safety information video from the CDC: Un-Sparktacular Celebration.
- Learn more about fireworks risks and fireworks safety from the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc, or from CPSC at http://www.cpsc.gov.
- Find out if fireworks are legal in your state from the American Pyrotechnics Association’s page on State fireworks laws.
- Get more fireworks statistics from the 2012 Fireworks Annual Report and the 2011 Fireworks Annual Report from the CDC.