10 firework safety tips to remember for July 4th

Posted at 5:23 AM, Jul 03, 2016

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 8,000 Americans end up in the hospital annually this time of year due to a firework-related accident. According to the commission, the majority of the injuries are to the hands and head. 

Of the injuries, 11 were fatal in 2015. Children younger than 15 years of age were responsible for 26 percent of the firework-related hospital visits in 2015. 

According to a June 2016 report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the majority of the injuries were due to misuse or malfunctions of fireworks. 

"Misuse included: igniting fireworks too close to someone; lighting fireworks in one’s hand; setting off fireworks improperly; having lit fireworks too close to other fireworks/explosives; and touching lit fireworks," the report states. "Typical malfunctions included: errant flight paths; early or late ignition; tip-over incidents; and blowout. In addition, debris from fireworks was involved in some of the injuries."

Even though sparklers are legal in many jurisdictions, they accounted for 26 percent of all firework injuries in 2015. By comparison, bottle rockets accounted for 11 percent of injuries, and firecrackers were blamed for 16 percent of injuries. 

Homemade and altered fireworks accounted for 21 percent of firework injuries. 

With a few simple precautions, you can stay safe this July 4. Here are 10 tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission to help you avoid the emergency room. 

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

The National Fire Protection Association has published a video showing the dangers of consumer fireworks. 

Also keep in mind different jurisdictions have varying laws involving fireworks.