National Council On Fireworks Safety: Tips For a Safe Independence Day Celebration

By  //  July 3, 2017

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USCPSC strongly advises consumers to leave the fireworks to trained professionals

Fireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day. Yet, the thrill of fireworks can also bring pain. On average, 250 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. (USCPSC Image)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each Independence Day, 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.

Data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission  (USCPSC) show that fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage.

In 2015, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,900 people for fireworks related injuries; 51 percent of those injuries were to the extremities and 41 percent were to the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for over one-quarter of the estimated 2015 injuries.

The USCPSC strongly advises consumers to leave the fireworks to trained professionals and enjoy the holiday fireworks by attending a public display. In other words, for your safety, avoid the personal use of fireworks.

However, if you are compelled to use fireworks at home, the National Council on Fireworks Safety, which promotes safe and responsible use of consumer fireworks, provides critical tips on the safe use of holiday fireworks in the information below.

– Dr. Jim Palermo, Editor-in-Chief

ABOVE VIDEO: USCPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle talks about fireworks safety. This video includes dramatic fireworks demonstrations. Leave professional fireworks to the professionals and celebrate safely.

NATIONAL COUNCIL ON FIREWORKS SAFETY — The number of Americans planning to use backyard fireworks this Fourth of July is expected to hit an all-time high. In preparation for holiday celebrations, The National Council on Fireworks Safety (NCFS) encourages consumers to review all safety tips before purchasing and using fireworks.

“Every year, safety is our first priority as families begin to plan their Fourth of July festivities. While fireworks are the most iconic and festive way to celebrate our country’s independence, there can be dangers if fireworks are used improperly,” said Nancy Blogin, President of the National Council on Fireworks Safety.

“Consumers should purchase fireworks from a reputable company or fireworks stand, check local and state laws for fireworks use in your city, and check all instructions on fireworks packaging before use.”

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The fireworks industry has made great progress in improving firework quality and reducing injuries; however, there is still work to be done as the vast majority of fireworks-related injuries in the U.S. each year result from the misuse of fireworks.

The tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause 3rd degree burns.

We have seen an increase in injuries among youth that have used fireworks in videos unsafely to impress their friends or to get a laugh.  We want parents to help us put a stop to using fireworks in viral videos by encouraging safety and by explaining that the improper use of fireworks can produce serious injuries or even death.

“We have a collective responsibility as a community to put a stop to improper fireworks usage. If you see something that is unsafe, say something or report it to your local fire or police department,” said Blogin.

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The NCFS’s mission is to educate the public on the safe use of fireworks and encourages consumers to follow the following safety tips before engaging in fireworks celebrations this Fourth of July:

  1. Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  2. Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  3. A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities.  Never give fireworks to children.
  4. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.
  5. Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  6. Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  7. Do not hold a fireworks item in your hand.
  8. Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  9. Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water before you discard it.
  10. After purchasing fireworks, always store them in a cool, dry place.
  11. When using fireworks always have a connected hose, bucket of water, or other water source nearby.
  12. Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers.
  13. Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  14. Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trashcan away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  15. Ensure all pets and animals are away from fireworks noise.
  16. With the rise in stress-related disorders affecting American service men and women, pay special consideration to individuals who may be sensitive to loud noises in proximity to your fireworks show.

If you have any questions regarding how to properly use fireworks we encourage you to consult your local dealer.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety is a nonprofit 501(c) organization dedicated to educating the public about the safe and responsible enjoyment of consumer fireworks. For more information, visit http://www.fireworkssafety.org.

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