A national non-profit group based in Chicago has gone into high-gear this week, trying to spread the word that next week’s big holiday, the Fourth of July, is unlike most other fun weekends we celebrate around here because so many people take advantage of the warm weather and outdoor festivities to buy and use consumer fireworks.
Fireworks Hurt Kids, Can Cause Blindness
Prevent Blindness wants you to pass on buying your own fireworks because they are dangerous. Instead, go out to the nearest fireworks display where professionals are providing those beautiful fireworks shows.
In our local area, for example, there are the following fireworks events planned, beginning tomorrow throughout Indiana (click on FireworksinIndiana for details to find a fireworks display near your home):
- June 27, 2014 — 2 fireworks displays in Indiana
- June 28, 2014 — 13 fireworks displays in Indiana
- June 29, 2014 — 5 fireworks displays in Indiana
- July 3, 2014 — 24 fireworks displays in Indiana
- July 4, 2014 — 82 fireworks displays in Indiana
- July 5, 2014 — 28 fireworks displays in Indiana
According to the CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission), 8700 people were rushed to hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries last year, and a third of these accident victims were kids under the age of 15.
Fireworks Also Cause Fires and Serious Burns, Other Injuries
There are groups that suggest consumer fireworks be banned in this country because of the high risk of personal injury and even death from using fireworks. Of course, right now the legal limitations on fireworks bans their use except for certain time periods, like next week’s Fourth of July holiday weekend. Legislatures try and maximize safety while allowing fireworks to be purchased and used by all of us during these holiday periods by enforcing rules like where you can set off fireworks (you cannot do it in your Valpo backyard, for instance).
Why are fireworks so dangerous?
Because they can burn people and things, and because they can explode (injuring hands and face).
Sparklers, for example, burn at over 1000 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT. Bottle rockets are notorious for going off-course and slamming into people, setting clothes on fire or puncturing faces / eyes. Homemade fireworks are even more dangerous that commercially manufactured fireworks, but both are the cause of serious injuries over the Fourth of July holiday each year.
Kids, especially small children, are particularly vulnerable to injury from fireworks because they are so entranced by the magical sparkling light and the pretty colors. Teenagers are also particularly suspectible to getting hurt while handling fireworks because they may forget to keep their distance from the fire and close proximity to explosions causes injury.
Some scary facts from the National Fire Prevention Association:
Fireworks caused (in 2012):
- 1,200 total structure fires,
- 400 vehicle fires, and
- 16,300 outside and other fires.
- These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32,000,000 in direct property damage.
- In 2012, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,700 people for fireworks related injuries; 55% of 2012 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 31% were to the head.
- The risk of fireworks injury was highest for young people ages 15-24, followed by children under 10.
- On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
Be Careful Out There!
And if you decide to buy and use fireworks over the holiday, then please keep your safety as well as your loved ones in mind. Personal injuries due to fireworks accidents and fires started by fireworks being set off during the Fourth of July holiday can result in serious injury and even wrongful death.