Increasing Number of U.S. Fires Are Reported on the Fourth of July

According to the National Fire Protection Association, an increasing number of U.S. fires are reported on the Fourth of July; two out of five of those fires are caused by fireworks-related injuries.

The injury estimates on this page were obtained from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2012 Fireworks Annual Report. The detailed statistics below are based only on injuries seen from June 22-July 22, 2012.

  • Almost three out of five (57 percent) of the 2012 fireworks injuries were burns, while almost one-fifth (18 percent) were contusions or lacerations:
  • Three out of 10 (30 percent) people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15.
  • Males accounted for almost three-quarters (74 percent) of the injuries.
  • The risk of fireworks injury was highest for people ages 15-24 followed by children under 10.
  • Sparklers, fountains and novelties alone accounted for one-quarter (25 percent) of the emergency room fireworks injuries in 2012.

I’ll admit that as a child, the most promising time on the Fourth of July was the fascination of a lite sparkler and bottle rockets in your own backyard, but the NFPA warns against using any consumer fireworks because they can cause serious burns. Sparklers burn at a temperature of 2,000 degrees; recently, a five-year-old caught his shirt on fire resulting in second degree burns. Last year, over 11,000 were hurt handling fireworks.

The Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks is a group of health and safety organizations, coordinated by NFPA, that urges the public to avoid the use of consumer fireworks and instead, to enjoy displays of fireworks conducted by trained professionals.

If you are going to use sparklers this Independence day, the National Council on Fireworks Safety suggests these tips:

  • Never hand your child a lit sparkler. Give them an unlit one, then light it.\-Stand at least six feet away from another person.
  • Keep them away from your body as the sparks can catch your clothes on fire.
  • When they go out, put them in water right away, since they stay hot for minutes after they go out.

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