Fireworks during the Fourth of July are as American as apple-pie, but did you know that 2 out of 5 fires reported on that day are started by fireworks, more than for any other cause? Every Independence Day holiday, 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 which include devastating burns, injuries to the eyes, hands and face, fires and even death.
According to the latest national data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks related injuries; 54% of those injuries were to the extremities and 36% were to the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated injuries.
In Michigan, consumer fireworks became legal January 1, 2012, and must meet CPSC standards. They will only be sold to people 18 years of age or older. Low impact fireworks (ground-based items such as sparklers, toy snakes, snaps, and poppers) are legal for sale and use. In December, 2018, new measures were signed into law (House Bill 5939) that reduce the number of days fireworks can be used, give local government more power to regulate the devices and tighten consumer sales and use.
“The best way to stay safe from fireworks is to not use them. Instead, watch a public fireworks display either in person or on television put on by trained experts,” said Firefighter Michael McLeieer, President of the non-profit fire safety charity E.S.C.A.P.E. “Fireworks are dangerous to people and pets. Using them puts you and your property at risk,” according to McLeieer.
- You can enjoy your holiday and the fireworks by following a few simple safety tips:
- Be safe. If you want to see fireworks, watch a public show put on by the professionals
- Parents and caregivers should always closely supervise children at events where fireworks are used
- Hand-held sparklers burn at more than 1,200 °F and cause 3rd degree burns in seconds. As a comparison, wood burns at 575 degrees F
- If you decide to use sparklers, place discarded sparkler wires in a metal bucket filled with water
- Sparklers account for roughly one-quarter (25%) of emergency room fireworks injuries
- After the fireworks display, children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over since they may still be active
- Adults should not consume alcohol when using fireworks
- Leave pets at home and keep them inside during fireworks displays
- Follow the local ordinance and state law regarding the use of consumer fireworks
E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety urges Michiganders to use common sense, be aware of your surroundings and follow safety rules this Fourth of July during holiday celebrations!