Extension News You Can Use
In the United States, fireworks are commonly used to celebrate holidays and special events. The National Safety Council advises that the safest way to view fireworks is to attend a professional firework show.
It is important to know that fireworks are not always safe in the hands of consumers. Annually from June 16-July 16, 230 people on average visit the emergency room every day with firework-related injuries, mainly to hands, fingers, legs, eyes and other parts of the head.
In 2019, nine people lost their lives and over 10,000 people were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents. Children younger than 15 years of age had the highest rate of injury to fireworks (36 percent). Half of the estimated emergency department-treated fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age.
While the majority of these incidents were due to amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade, or other illegal fireworks or explosives, an estimated 1,200 injuries were from less powerful devices, such as small firecrackers and sparklers.
In regard to sparklers, they are much more dangerous than most people may realize. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt some metals. They can also quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers alone account for more than 25 percent of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries. Additionally, fireworks start an average of 19,500 reported fires each year.
If you choose to use consumer fireworks, be sure to use the following fireworks safety tips:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Older children should use them only under close adult supervision.
- Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
- Never hold lit fireworks in your hands.
- Never light them indoors.
- Use them away from people, houses and flammable material.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Light one firework at a time, never place any body part directly over a firework device, and maintain a safe distance immediately after lighting.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
- Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire.
- Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in only brown paper. This is a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could be dangerous in the hands of an amateur.
- Keep your distance. Stay at least six feet away from people holding sparklers to avoid injury from sparks.
- Stand still. Don’t wave or run with sparklers.
- One is enough. Do not bundle sparklers to enhance their effect.
- Cover up. Wear closed-toe shoes to avoid injuries from sparks.
Many celebrations can be enjoyed without fireworks. For safer alternatives to fireworks, consider using glow sticks, confetti poppers, silly string, or colored streamers. Make plans to visit one of the many fireworks displays in Wilson County this year! They are fun for the whole family. See your local SOURCE events page for a complete list!