Enjoy Independence Day and leave fireworks to the professionals

Independence Day celebrations and fireworks often go together like hot dogs and hamburgers, but fireworks are best left in the hands of the professionals. Annually, fireworks cause devastating burns, injuries, fires and even death, making them dangerous for consumer use.

On Independence Day in a typical year, fireworks account for two out of five of all reported fires in the United States, more than any other cause of fire. On average each year, fireworks start 18,500 fires, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires cause an annual average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and $43 million in direct property damage; however, the majority of fireworks injuries occur without a fire starting. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2017 emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks-related injuries; 54 percent of those injuries were to the extremities and 36 percent were to the head. Two-thirds (65 percent) of the injuries were burns, Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for one third (36 percent) of the estimated injuries. Sparklers were the leading cause of fireworks injuries. More than half of the fireworks injuries incurred by children under five years of age were caused by sparklers.

The National Fire Prevention Association offers a wealth of information on fireworks safety, including videos and other resources that visually demonstrate just how dangerous consumer fireworks can be.

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