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Firework Safety Tips for July 4th

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Celebrating our nation’s independence usually prompts crowds of enthusiastic patriots to gather around grills, friends, and fireworks. Unfortunately, the Fourth of July also comes with its share of injuries. To avoid injuries, follow these firework safety tips.

  1. Make sure all fireworks are supervised by an adult.

  2. Do not allow children to light fireworks.

  3. Do not point or throw fireworks at others.

  4. Keep appropriate fire prevention tools on hand: a hose, bucket of water, or fire extinguisher.

  5. Avoid lighting fireworks in a residential area.

  6. Position your body away from fireworks when lighting.

  7. Avoid setting off large groups of fireworks simultaneously.

  8. Never attempt to relight a firework that did not properly ignite.

  9. Only use proper vessels for setting off fireworks.

  10. Set an appropriate fire safety plan and make sure everyone is aware of the terms.

The Fourth of July is a festive time of year, filled with wide-eyed children gazing at the sky looking for bright bursts of color. The smell of hot dogs and hamburgers fill the air as we celebrate the birth of our nation. But with this magic comes several fire hazards. Without appropriate fireworks safety measures, fun gatherings can result in injury or damage.

Each year, there are approximately 14,000 fireworks displays in celebration of Independence Day. A whopping 80 percent of Americans attend a barbecue or cookout of some sort, while 66 percent will attend a fireworks display. According to WalletHub, we also drink enough during our national celebration to make it the top holiday for beer sales. Drinking and fire seems like a recipe for disaster. Avoid injury and property damage this year with a proper fire prevention strategy and some fireworks safety tips. Here are the trends when it comes to fireworks related injuries.

causes of firework injury

Causes of Firework-related injuries

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Firework’s Annual Report for 2015 surveyed those injured to determine the direct cause. The report cites that most injuries were a result of misuse or malfunction. Reasons for injury include:

  • Lighting fireworks too close to another person
  • Not following directions for igniting fireworks
  • Setting off fireworks in a person’s hand
  • Lighting fireworks in the near proximity of other fireworks
  • Touching fireworks that were already lit
  • Tipping over of firework vessels
  • Unexpected flight paths of fireworks
  • Fireworks igniting earlier or later than expected
  • Debris from fireworks
  • Firework malfunctions causing blowouts

Having a fire safety plan in place and practicing appropriate fireworks safety tips can reduce your risk of injury as you celebrate Independence Day. Avoid the practices above for a safe holiday.

fourth of july festivities

Fourth of July festivities resulting in injury

While mostly good times are had by all, injuries can occur without a fire prevention strategy. In 2015, the CPSC reports that fireworks were responsible for 11 deaths and nearly 12,000 injuries. Of the 11,900 injuries that were reported due to fireworks in 2015, 8,000 were reported in the time between June 19 and July 19 (the time frame the CPSC associates with Fourth of July activities). In addition to these injuries, two major NFL players lost fingers, causing revelers to think twice about fire prevention and start practicing fireworks safety tips.

firework injury to the body

Firework injuries to the body

According to the CPSC, hands are the most injured part of the body, followed by the face and eyes. Over 50 percent of injuries related to fireworks were burns. Using proper fireworks safety measures can help to significantly reduce your risk of injury. Malfunctions are common with fireworks, especially when tampered with. The CPSC warns against tampering and using illegal fireworks because of the increased likelihood of unexpected problems.

Firework injuries by type of firework

Some fireworks tend to cause harm more than others. The top three offenders for firework-related injuries were

  • Sparklers
  • Firecrackers
  • Rockets

The most common injury related to fireworks came from burns associated with sparklers. Of 8,000 injuries, 1,900 were reportedly due to sparklers. The report states that 1,200 of those injuries could be traced to firecrackers, and 800 injuries came from rockets. Many of these injuries could be avoided by practicing the fireworks safety tips above and by encouraging fireworks that are not held in the hand.

property damage from fireworks

Property damage as a result of fireworks

Fire prevention is important when fireworks are involved. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks caused about 15,600 fires in the United States in 2013. 1,400 structures and 200 vehicles caught fire because of the lack of fireworks safety measures. The remaining 14,000 fires occurred outside or in other areas. Practicing appropriate fire prevention strategies, such as those listed above, can help reduce this number during the Fourth of July holiday.

The National Fire Protection Association also reports that a whopping 47 percent of all fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks. This means that almost half of total reported fires occurred because of the lack of fireworks safety measures. Having a fire safety plan can reduce the likelihood of property damage and decrease the risk of fire.

Firework-related injuries by age group

Fourth of July injuries affect ages 25 to 44 more than any other age group. According to the 2015 Fireworks Annual Report, individuals aged 25 to 44 were the most frequent visitors to the emergency room with injuries due to fireworks. Individuals aged 15 to 19 were second in line for injuries as a result of fireworks. Following closely were ages 20-24, with small children (aged 5-9) coming in fourth. Most injured individuals were male, comprising 61 percent of those injured.

Practice good fire prevention and fireworks safety tips this Fourth of July and keep us all safe as we celebrate Independence Day. Happy Fourth of July!

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