According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2011 fireworks caused 9,600 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Sparklers, fountains and novelty fireworks alone accounted for 34 percent of those injuries. During the same year, fire departments responded to 17,800 fires caused by fireworks.
As Independence Day celebrations near, the nonprofit Illinois Fire Safety Alliance warns Illinois residents of the dangers of fireworks and sparklers and advises them to leave fireworks to the professionals.
Consumer fireworks are illegal in Illinois, but each year tens of thousands of residents are found testing the law, sometimes leading to injuries and costly fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association:
In 2013, 11,400 fireworks-related injuries were treated in emergency rooms in the United States, an increase of 31 percent from 2012.
Forty percent of those injuries occurred to children under the age of 15.
In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 structure fires, 400 vehicle fires and 16,300 outside and other fires
On Independence Day in a typical year, fireworks account for two out of five of all reported fires, more than any other cause of fire.
The risk of fire death relative to hours of usage is higher for fireworks than for cigarettes, making fireworks the riskiest consumer product.
Although sparklers are legal for consumer use in Illinois, they too should be a major cause for concern because they burn at up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Each year, they cause burn injuries to more than 3,500 children and adults.
“Sparklers are often viewed by the public as a ‘safe’ alternative to fireworks, so many adults place sparklers in the hands of children and are unaware of the dangers. The heat is enough to melt glass or even aluminum and easily causes third-degree burns to humans,” IFSA Executive Director Philip Zaleski said.
“Independence Day should be a cause for celebration, but it should be celebrated in a safe manner that does not put people’s health and lives at risk,” Zaleski said. “If you want to see fireworks, go to a public show that is operated by professionals.”
For information, visit www.IFSA.org/education-prevention/fireworks.