WASHINGTON, D.C. -- FEMA’s United States Fire Administration reminds everyone of the dangers associated with fireworks. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), far more U.S. fires are reported on July Fourth than on any other day, and fireworks account for more than any other cause of fires. The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-14 – more than twice the risk for the general population.
“Every year around the Fourth of July, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks,” said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell. “Despite the well-known dangers of fireworks, few people understand that misuse of both legal and illegal fireworks can result in devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death.”
In 2010, fireworks caused an estimated 15,500 fires, including 1,100 total structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 14,100 others, according to a June NFPA report. That same year, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,600 people for fireworks related injuries. In 2011, there were four reported deaths from fireworks.
“With so many areas of the nation experiencing drought-like conditions, I would encourage people to attend a local public display,” said Mitchell. “Listen to local fire and safety officials for the most current information regarding fireworks in your area.”
If you are going to use legal and locally approved fireworks, follow these safety tips:
•Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
•Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Young children suffer injuries from sparklers, for example, which burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
•Always have an adult closely supervise fireworks activities if older children are allowed to handle devices.
•Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
•Never place any part of your body directly over fireworks when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
•Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire.
•Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
•Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
•Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
•Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
•After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
For those seeking more information regarding fireworks in your area, check with local fire officials and visit the following recommended websites:
As an entity of the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency, the mission of the United States Fire Administration is to provide national leadership to foster a solid foundation for our fire and emergency services stakeholders in prevention, preparedness, and response.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.