Facts and figures for July 4th 2022
Now that summer’s here, think safety at the pool and beach and when grilling

With injuries climbing, be cautious when using fireworks

Fireworks Dummy Getting His Hand Blown Off CPSCOver the years, I’ve written many times about kids getting their hands blown off from fireworks. It’s already happened in my state this year.

A 14-year-old lost his left hand and injured his other hand while reportedly playing with fireworks in Federal Way, Washington. A firework had blown up in the teen’s hand.

The photo, left, is from a safety video, see below, showing what happened to a test dummy who was holding fireworks that were lighted.

Unfortunately, over the past 15 years, the number of people injured by fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday is increasing. 

Between 2006 and 2021, injuries due to fireworks climbed 25 percent in the United States, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC estimates. 

Last year, at least nine people died, and an estimated 11,500 were injured in incidents involving fireworks.

“It’s imperative that consumers know the risks involved in using fireworks, so injuries and tragedies can be prevented,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric. “The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch the professional displays.”

The CPSC urges consumers to follow these safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap. 
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move quickly away from the fireworks device. 
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks, including sparklers, at anyone.
  • Douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it in the trash to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase and set off fireworks that are labeled for consumer, not professional, use.
  • Never use fireworks while drinking alcohol or using drugs.

A new report from the CPSC on 2021 fireworks deaths and injuries shows:

  • Of the nine U.S. deaths, six were associated with firework misuse and one was associated with a mortar launch malfunction. The cause of the other two deaths is unknown.
  • There were an estimated 11,500 emergency room-treated injuries involving fireworks – down from the spike – 15,600 – experienced in 2020, during the first year of the covid-19 pandemic, when many public displays were canceled.
  • An estimated 8,500 fireworks-related injuries, or 74 percent of the total estimated fireworks-related injuries, occurred during the one-month study period between June 18 and July 18.
  • Young adults 20 to 24 had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries.
  • There were an estimated 1,500 emergency department-treated injuries associated with firecrackers and 1,100 involving sparklers. 
  • The parts of the body most often injured by fireworks were hands and fingers, an estimated 31 percent of injuries, along with head, face, and ears, an estimated 21 percent.
  • About 32 percent of the emergency department-treated fireworks-related injuries were for burns.
  • About 31 percent of selected and tested fireworks products were found to contain noncompliant components, including fuse violations, the presence of prohibited chemicals, and pyrotechnic materials overload.

Have a safe, sane July 4th celebration.

Comments

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Carol Cassara

And a mom lost her son this week to firework accident. Sad. and needless.

Rita

Yes, unfortunately, it happens every year -- deaths and injuries from fireworks. That's why it's important to keep writing about it and warning people. Parents and kids must use more caution.

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