Each July Fourth, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks - devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death. Not only that, but tinder dry conditions in some areas make fireworks a potential threat to starting wildland fires. Take Texas for example. Throughout the Lonestar State, many counties have put a ban on the use of consumer fireworks or canceled shows altogether due to this danger.
The Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks is a group of health and safety organizations, coordinated by NFPA, that urges the public to avoid the use of consumer fireworks and instead, to enjoy displays of fireworks conducted by trained professionals. Be sure to check with your local fire service or state authority to make sure there’s not a current ban on lighting fireworks!
Some important facts and figures to consider before using consumer fireworks:
- 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.
We hope you have a fun and safe holiday weekend!
Source: NFPA’s Fireworks report, by John R. Hall, Jr., June 2011