Playing it safe with fireworks
June 14, 2022
Every year around the Fourth of July it’s estimated 260 million pounds of fireworks are used by Americans, with an additional 285 million pounds used by professionals for community displays, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA).
On average, 180 people go to the emergency room daily with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the Fourth of July holiday, as reported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Fireworks are fun but can be very dangerous. According to medical experts, the majority of injuries from fireworks occur to the hands or fingers, legs, face and eyes. Fireworks should be left to experts specially trained and certified so everyone can have a safe and enjoyable holiday.
If you do decide to use fireworks, HSHS Illinois hospitals strongly recommend you follow safety tips from the CPSC.
10 Fireworks Safety Recommendations
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
- Always read and follow label instructions.
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Young children can suffer injuries from sparklers, which burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, which is 20 times the boiling point of water. As a safe alternative to sparklers, use glow sticks.
- Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from houses, dry leaves and flammable materials.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a firework when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting a firework (only light one at a time) and wear eye protection.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them from metal or glass containers.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Soak all spent fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can. Never discard fireworks, including used ones, in a fire pit.
- Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper. This is often a sign they were made for professional use only.
More fireworks safety tips are available on the CPSC website at: cpsc.gov/fireworks
If you or someone you know is injured by a firework and in need of emergency care, call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room immediately.
HSHS Illinois Communications Manager