Leave Fireworks To The Professionals - A Painful Lesson
DECADES OF TRAGIC experience prove that fireworks are too dangerous to be used by amateurs.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission figures for fireworks injuries reported to hospital emergency rooms show a consistent pattern of danger and suggest that the problem is growing.
According to these numbers (rounded to the nearest 100), in 1973-75 there were an average of 5,500 fireworks injuries per year. By 1982-84, there were an average of 8,900 fireworks injuries per year. And by 1991-93, there were 12,200 fireworks injuries per year.
In 1999, an estimated 24,200 fires involving fireworks were reported to U.S. fire departments. These fires resulted in 12 civilian deaths, 55 civilian injuries, and $17.2 million in direct property loss. Source: NFPA's One-Stop Data Shop.
Children Have A Lot To Lose
YOUNG PEOPLE SUFFER the great majority of fireworks injuries, which typically harm the eyes, head, or hands. These injuries can result in blindness, permanent scarring, and amputations.
Teach children at an early age that fireworks are explosive devices. They are not toys. Explain the danger of explosives and teach children to tell an adult if they find fireworks. Be sure they understand it is too risky to pick up the fireworks and bring them to an adult.
"The burns caused by the intense heat of fireworks leave lifetime, disfiguring scars. Eye injuries, many leading to permanent vision loss, account for 20 percent of fireworks injuries."
- Mark D. Widome, MD, Chir
American Academy of Pediatrics
EVEN SPARKLERS, pyrotechnic devices that look harmless but aren't, cause hundreds of injuries to children every year. Sparklers are designed to burn hot, and they can reach temperatures as high as 1200° F (649° C), staying hot long after they've burned out. You wouldn't hand a matchbook or lighter to a child to wave around or play with, so why would you give a child a sparkler to hold?
Sparklers are not toys.
Left to the professionals, fireworks can be a spectacular addition to holidays and celebrations, such as the Fourth of July, Canada Day, Chinese New Year, and Mardi Gras. But in the hands of amateurs, fireworks can turn festivities into tragedy.
Too High A Risk
FIRE DEPARTMENTS responded to some 25,500 fires started by fireworks in 1992 - fires that resulted in $33 million in property damage.
And it's not just illegal fireworks that are dangerous. Most fireworks injuries are caused by fireworks that are legal in many states. Those same fireworks, however, have been banned by many other states because of the injuries, fires, and deaths that they can cause.
It is simply too dangerous to use fireworks yourself or be around friends who use them. Instead, enjoy the thrill of pyrotechnics at a public display presented by trained professionals, where compliance with state-of-the-art fire codes offers a safer way to enjoy the holidays.
Protect the Ones You Love
- If you use lighters, buy ones with a child resistant feature
- Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach, preferably in a locked cabinet
- Never leave young children alone with an open flame
- Teach older children to use fire responsibly
- If you suspect your child is setting fires, get help immediately