Fireworks injuries ruin Fourth of July celebrations for thousands of people each year. This is no real surprise, considering that the use of fireworks by amateurs has grown tremendously in recent years. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), imports of fireworks increased 700-percent in the last three decades. The CPSC estimates that in 2006 more than 10,000 people were treated for injuries they received from fireworks, fire crackers, and even sparklers. Fireworks are also a major fire hazard, leading to more than 30,000 incidents every year and causing $17 million in damage. And roman candles werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the only items responsible for such havoc Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in fact, non-explosive novelties like sparklers and fountains accounted for one-fourth of all injuries.
Fireworks are explosives, and injuries from them can be very serious. Most involve the face and hands, although eye injuries are very common. But the consequences can be far worse — according to the CPSC, 11 people died in fireworks accidents last year.
The CPSC says that the best way to avoid a fireworks injury is to avoid handling fireworks. Instead, let the pros do it. Most municipalities have their own July 4th firework celebrations conducted by trained professionals. Attending these displays is a much safer alternative to backyard celebrations, as the vast majority of fireworks injuries happen to amateur users.
Of course for some, it just isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Independence Day without their own display of fireworks. For those who simply must go the do-it-yourself route, the CPSC has more advice:
First, never allow children to use fireworks Ã¢â‚¬â€œ not even sparklers. Half of all fireworks victims are children, and they simply are not capable of handling these incendiary devices.
Be sure that fireworks are legal. Fireworks are banned in Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Several states allow novelties like sparklers, while the rest allow varying degrees of firework use. Everyone should check their states laws before they purchase fireworks.
When using fireworks, the CPSC says that the directions on the packaging should be followed to the letter. They should be used in an outdoor, open area and should never be handled where there is a severe drought. Only one firework should be ignited at a time, and they should never be pointed at or thrown in the direction of another person. A bucket of water should be kept nearby, and all spent fireworks should be doused in water.
The CPSC points out that even when all of the above precautions are taken, fireworks accidents still do happen. The best way to enjoy Fourth of July celebrations is to avoid amateur fireworks displays altogether.