Celebrating July 4th is a time for deck parties, lake parties, grilling, boats, and everything in between. It is also when some fireworks become legal for personal use in New York State for a limited time.
Typically, fireworks are left to the professionals who are trained and certified to perform shows at various venues throughout the year. Only during these few weeks are non-professionals allowed to purchase and utilize fireworks. Due to the increased personal use during this time of year, fireworks injuries and accidents are at their highest.
If you choose to use fireworks, there are a few things you should consider when purchasing or handling these explosives (statistics courtesy of the Consumer Product Safety Commission):
- In 2020, approximately 10,300 people were treated for non-occupational firework-related injuries in US emergency rooms between June 21st and July 21st – the approximate time when fireworks are legal for purchase and use in NYS
– (This accounts for approximately 66% of the total non-occupational firework-related injuries for the calendar year (approximately 15,600))
- There were 18 non-occupational fireworks-related deaths in 2020
- 1600 injuries were associated with firecrackers and 900 were associated with sparklers
- Burns accounted for 44% of all injuries – most commonly to the hands, fingers, arms, and legs
Statistics show that fireworks can be extremely dangerous, especially if used improperly, and handled by someone who is not trained in their use. The best way to protect yourself, is to grab a blanket, lawn chairs, and a patch of lawn, and leave it to the professionals. But if you do choose to set off fireworks in your back yard, follow the tips below courtesy of the National Safety Council.
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks
- Older children should only use them under close adult supervision
- Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
- Never hold lit fireworks in your hands
- Never light fireworks indoors
- Only use fireworks away from people, houses, and flammable material
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person
- Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
- Never ignite devices in a container
- Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
- Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
- Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that do not go off, or in case of fire
- Never use illegal fireworks
Following the tips above will help you to have a happy and safe fourth of July 4th celebration.