Consumer protection group urges Fourth of July firework safety

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With many people celebrating the Fourth of July from home, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission is encouraging people to take extra precautions to stay safe with fireworks displays.

The CPSC said all too often, Independence Day backyard celebrations can end up with a trip to the hospital for fireworks-related injuries. In 2019, there were about 10,000 injuries and 12 fireworks-related deaths.

“Many Americans will not get to see the grand, professional fireworks displays this 4th of July given the cancellations of public celebrations and stay-at-home orders across the country. As an alternative, people are purchasing their own fireworks in an effort to recreate that tradition at home,” said CPSC Commissioner Dana Baiocco. “The need for safety awareness regarding fireworks is greater than ever,” she said, “and anyone who plans to use consumer fireworks this year should review and follow CPSC’s simple safety tips to prevent injuries and incidents.”

Of the reported injuries, 73 percent happened during the month surrounding the Fourth of July. During that period, sparklers were the number one cause of injuries. Half of the reported sparkler injuries involved children younger than 5.

The deadly fireworks-related incidents happened when victims held and ignited fireworks. The CPSC said in one case, a 21-year-old man was critically injured when lighting mortar-type fireworks on the rooftop of an apartment complex. The firework ignited and exploded while the victim was holding it over his head. The victim was taken to the hospital, where he died five days later.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants consumers to know the risks of handling fireworks at home, and how to prevent serious injuries and deaths. 

Tips to Celebrate Safely

  • 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 away quickly. 
  • 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.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.

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