Every year, thousands of people are injured or killed while using consumer fireworks at home. This typically involves younger people, such as children and teens.
Despite the obvious dangers associated with home fireworks, very few people, and especially parents and grandparents, stop to realize the serious risks involved in recreational home fireworks use. Devastating burns and even deaths occur each year due to home fireworks use and misuse.
The Perry County Health Department joins with other agencies and organizations to advise everyone to enjoy fireworks at public displays conducted by professionals, with emergency responders on scene, and not to use fireworks at home.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that hospital emergency rooms in the USA treat over 12,900 people for fireworks related injuries in a typical summer home fireworks season. Children under the age of 15 years old account for more than one third, or 36 percent of the injuries to emergency room patients due to consumer or home fireworks in 2017.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), consumer or home use fireworks have started an average of 18,500 fires per year for the last ten years in the USA. Fires include on average 1,300 structure fires (homes, garages, barns, sheds, etc.); 300 vehicle fires; and 16,900 outside and other fires (grass, crops, woods, etc.). The fires alone caused an additional average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, firefighter injuries and deaths, and an average of $43 million in direct property damages each year.
If you choose to use home fireworks, be sure to observe the following safety tips from the Perry County Health Department and the National Safety Council:
• Never allow children or teens to handle fireworks
• Always wear eye protection
• Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
• Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
• Only use them away from people, houses, porches, decks, and flammable material
• Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
• Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning or unexploded fireworks
• Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before properly discarding
• Keep a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire
• Never use illegal or homemade fireworks
Better yet, grab a blanket and a patch of lawn, kick back, and let the experts and first responders handle the fireworks show!
The Perry County Health Department is working to keep you healthy where you live, work and play. For more information on our programs contact us at 740-342-5179, like us on Facebook or visit our webpage at perryhealth.org.
Written by Jim Mickey, Emergency Planner / Preparedness and Response Coordinator at the Perry County Health Department.