New report on fireworks-related deaths, emergency department-treated injuries offer at-home safety tips. Photo by Chansereypich Seng on Unsplash

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) this year's July 4th holiday may look different from most due to social distancing restrictions, however, although we are going to be celebrating the Independence Day from home, the illegal use of fireworks in our backyard can end up with a trip to the hospital.

"Many Americans will not get to see the grand, professional fireworks displays this 4th of July given the cancellations of public celebrations and stay-at-home orders across the country. As an alternative, people are purchasing their own fireworks in an effort to recreate that tradition at home," said CPSC Commissioner Dana Baiocco. "The need for safety awareness regarding fireworks is greater than ever," she said, "and anyone who plans to use consumer fireworks this year should review and follow CPSC's simple safety tips to prevent injuries and incidents."

CPSC also informed that about 10,000 injuries and 12 fireworks-related deaths were reported for 2019. According to the governmental institution, there were an estimated 10,000 fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries in 2019, with 73 percent occurring during the month surrounding the Fourth of July (June 21-July 21). During that period, sparklers were the number one cause of injuries, accounting for an estimated 900 injuries; 66 percent of the injuries were to males. Similar to 2018's data, nearly half of the estimated injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age. In fact, half of the reported sparkler injuries involved children younger than 5.

The independent agency of the United States government, also said in their report that at least 12 people died from fireworks-related incidents in 2019. Several deaths occurred when victims held and ignited fireworks. In one of the reported cases in 2019, a 21-year-old male was critically injured when lighting mortar-type fireworks on the rooftop of an apartment complex. The firework ignited and exploded while the victim was holding it over his head. The victim was taken to the hospital, where he died five days later.

For months all of our activities have been done virtually; therefore, as part of this year's virtual fireworks safety initiatives, CPSC is working with Adam Savage, best known as the former co-host and producer of the Discovery Channel television hit "MythBusters," to share his extensive experience of fireworks safety. Savage is a science communicator, special effects designer, educator, television personality, author, and explosives expert, and an honorary lifetime member of the International Association of Bomb technicians and investigators.

Fireworks report 2020
New report on fireworks-related deaths, emergency department-treated injuries offer at-home safety tips. Courtesy of CPSC

To prevent serious injuries and deaths, find below the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report on why consumers should always know the risks of handling fireworks at home.

Tips to Celebrate Safely

  • Never allow young children to play with, or ignite, fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishaps.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move away quickly.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area and only purchase fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.

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