Firework Facts and Tips For A Safe 4th of July Celebration

Now, what kind of a paranoid first-time mom would I be if I didn't post a bunch of safety facts about Fireworks? Crappy.

 So, here goes...

Fireworks by the numbers: According to a 2014 Study Conducted by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”)

Of the fireworks-related injuries sustained, 74 percent were to males, and 26 percent were to females.
  • Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 35 percent of the estimated 2014 injuries. Nearly half of the estimated injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age.
  • Children five to nine years had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated fireworks-related injuries (5.2 injuries per 100,000 people).
  • There were an estimated 1,400 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 100 with bottle rockets.
  • There were an estimated 1,400 emergency department-treated injuries associated with firecrackers. Of these, an estimated 26 percent were associated with small firecrackers, an estimated 28 percent with illegal firecrackers, and an estimated 46 percent with firecrackers for which there was no specific information.
  • The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (an estimated 36 percent); head, face, and ears (an estimated 19 percent); eyes (an estimated 19 percent); legs (an estimated 10 percent); and arms (an estimated 5 percent).
  • Fifty-four percent of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to all parts of the body, except the eyes, where contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eyes occurred more frequently.
  • Approximately 83 percent of the victims were treated at the hospital emergency department and then released. An estimated 14 percent of patients were treated and transferred to another hospital or admitted to the hospital. 

In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
Source: National Council On Firework Safety 
On July 4th, in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.

In 2013, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,400 people for fireworks related injuries; 55% of those injuries were to the extremities and 38% were to the head.

Source: National Council On Firework Safety 
The risk of fireworks injury is highest for young people ages 0-4, followed by children 10-14.

Here are a few tips to keep you and your family from being one of those statistics...

Sparklers are the leading cause of injuries to children.
  • Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
  • Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
  • Always have water ready if you are using fireworks.(I have the hose on and a bucket of water close by.)
  • Know your fireworks; Read the caution label before igniting.
  • Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Only light one firework at a time.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: They can kill you!
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
  • Lastly, soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor, fire resistant garbage can away from buildings and flammable materials.
  • For more information on Fire Work Safety visit the, National Council On Firework Safety. 

Ok, and for those out there that need a scare tactic to keep them from being a dumbass with a firework: (Source: "CPSC")

On July 4, a 44-year-old male from Michigan was killed when a mortar shell firework exploded. According to witnesses, the victim and his friends had a barbecue and set off fireworks during the evening. The victim initially set the launching tube on the cement ground and launched three shells successfully. Then the victim decided to launch the fourth shell while holding the launch tube with his arms extended and the tube pointed in an upward angle. The tube blew up from the back and hit the victim directly in the chest. The victim was knocked backward about 8 to 10 feet and flew into the fence, and he died shortly after the explosion. The medical examiner’s office found the base plug from the tube deep inside the victim’s chest. The plug appeared to be made of clay and measured 1- 7/8" in diameter and was 2-1/8" tall. The officials were unable to determine if a consumer mortar shell or a display shell was used. 


And last, GREAT news for the environmentally conscious, (Which is hopefully everyone): 

Some groups have already found substitutes for barium compounds and potassium perchlorate. By replacing chlorine with iodine, a team at the U.S. Army’s Pyrotechnics Technology and Prototyping Division found that sodium and potassium periodate are both safe and effective oxidizers. The same group also found success replacing barium with boron. The work is aimed at making more environmentally friendly flares for military use, but could also be applied to civilian fireworks. Some fireworks that use nitrogen-rich compounds in place of perchlorates have been used in small displays, but the challenge is making eco-friendly products as cheap as alternatives.

From my family to yours, we wish you a safe and wonderful Independence Day!

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