Each 4th of July, 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.
Fireworks by the Numbers
- 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 2017, 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 2017 injuries.
If you plan to celebrate the holiday with your own fireworks, these precautions can help prevent injuries:
- Never place any part of your body over a fireworks device.
- Make sure anyone who handles fireworks wears eye protection to protect the eyes from flying sparks or debris.
- Don't use bottle rockets. Their flight paths are often erratic.
- Don't consume alcohol when using fireworks.
- Don't try to re-light fireworks that have not worked properly.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of malfunction or fire.
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Follow label directions.
- Ignite fireworks outdoors.
- Light only one at a time.
- Buy from reliable fireworks sellers.
- Never give fireworks to small children.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
In case of injury, do not delay medical attention, even if the injury seems minor.