BRADENTON – Fireworks represent a hallmark of July 4 celebrations, but consumer fireworks are extremely dangerous, causing thousands of injuries and fires each year. That’s why the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), coordinator of the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks, urges the public to only attend professional fireworks displays put on by trained professionals.
“Each Fourth of July season, we see tragic accidents and an uptick in fires caused by consumer fireworks,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Even sparklers, which are often thought of as harmless enough for children to hold, burn at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause significant injuries.”
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) 2012 Fireworks Annual Report, U.S. hospital emergency rooms saw an estimated 8,700 people for fireworks-related injuries in 2012. In the month around July 4th, almost three out of five (57 percent) of the fireworks injuries were burns, while almost one-fifth (18 percent) were contusions or lacerations. Sparklers, fountains and novelties alone accounted for one-quarter (25 percent) of the emergency room fireworks injuries.
Young people pay a particularly high price for fireworks. During the same July period, the risk of injury was highest among those ages 15-24, followed by children under 10. Three out of ten people (30 percent) injured by fireworks were under the age of 15. Males accounted for three-quarters (74 percent) of the injuries overall.
On Independence Day in a typical year, fireworks account for two out of five of all reported U.S. fires, more than any other cause of fire. In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires resulting in 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage. The vast majority of injuries occur without a fire starting.
“Knowing the harm fireworks inflict each year, particularly on young people, we urge everyone to leave fireworks to the professionals, who are trained to safely put on spectacular displays. It is by far the safest way to enjoy them,” said Carli.
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