Skip to content

Monday July 13, 2020 Salt Lake City, UT

TOP STORY

Inside DPS

Media Alert

Press Release

Protecting Utah

Celebrating with Fireworks? Make Sure You Celebrate Safely

Wednesday June 24, 2020
Fireworks display over water.

Fireworks are a big part of our 4th of July and Pioneer Day celebrations.

We want to remind everyone that if you’re celebrating with fireworks, make sure you celebrate safely.

Fireworks can cause serious injuries and have the potential to start fires.

Fire Risk

Fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018.

National Fire Protection Association
Trees in a forest on fire.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage.  

The National Fire Protection Association has some fireworks safety tips in the document linked to below.

Here are links to news stories about fires started by fireworks in Utah.

Nine cars damaged by fire as July 4 fireworks cause busy night for SLC firefighters

Fireworks believed to be the cause of fires in Cottonwood Heights, Sugar House

Fireworks Cause Small Brush, Dumpster Fires Across County

 A particular risk can be for wildfires, which can start anytime the ground is not completely snow-covered. It is important to be especially cautious with fireworks, when the fire danger is elevated and fires spread quickly and burn more intensely, especially in the spring and during summer drought periods.

The reality is, all fireworks have the potential to cause a wildfire. While exploding and airborne fireworks are the most hazardous, even sparklers, fountains and smoke bombs can cause an ignition.

The reality is, all fireworks have the potential to cause a wildfire.

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals instead of setting off your own. Always keep a safe distance and remember to never allow young children to use fireworks.

Before using fire of any kind in the outdoors:

  • know the daily fire danger
  • obtain the proper permits
  • choose a safe area free of flammable materials
  • make certain fireworks are completely out and cold before leaving
  • have water and tools nearby

Injury Risks

Fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries.

Image shows an animated man and text reads "Most injured body part - 19% eyes, 15% head, faces and ears, 28% hands and fingers, 4% arms, 10% trunks, 24% legs. More than 44% of the injuries were burns.

On average, 180 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the 4th of July.

Consumer Product Safety Commission

Safety Tips

The Utah State Fire Marshal’s Office encourages anyone celebrating with fireworks to practice the “Four BE’S”

Follow these safety tips when using fireworks:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
Poster shows a boy with a sparker and a person using a blow torch and text reads "Sparklers can burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit - hot as a blow torch. Know the risks. Prevent the tragedies.

Injury Statistics

The information below comes from the Consumer Product Safety Commission 2019 Annual Fireworks Report.

  • CPSC staff received reports of 12 non-occupational, fireworks-related deaths during 2019. Seven of the deaths were associated with misuse of fireworks, 2 deaths were associated with fireworks device malfunction (late ignition), and 3 incidents were associated with unknown circumstances. Reporting of fireworks-related deaths for 2019 is not complete, and the number of deaths in 2019 should be considered a minimum.
  • Fireworks were involved with an estimated 10,000 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2019 (95 percent confidence interval 7,100 – 12,900). The estimated rate of fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries in the United States is 3.1 per 100,000 individuals.
  • There is not a statistically significant trend in estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks- related injuries from 2004-2019.
  • An estimated 7,300 fireworks-related injuries (or 73 percent of the total estimated fireworks- related injuries in 2019) were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during the 1-month special study period between June 21, 2019 and July 21, 2019 (95 percent confidence interval 4,700-9,900).
  • Of the 7,300 estimated fireworks-related injuries sustained, 66 percent were to males and 34 percent were to females.
  • Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 36 percent of the estimated fireworks-related injuries. Similar to last year, nearly half of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age.1 Fiscal year 2019 refers to the period of October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.
  • Children 0 to 4 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries (5.3 injuries per 100,000 people). Older teens, 15 to 19 years of age, had the second highest estimated rate (4.4 injuries per 100,000 people).
  • There were an estimated 900 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets.
  • There were an estimated 800 emergency department-treated injuries associated with firecrackers. Of these, an estimated 24 percent were associated with small firecrackers, 16 percent with large firecrackers, 3 percent with illegal firecrackers, and the remaining 57 percent were associated with firecrackers of an unspecified size.
  • The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (an estimated 30 percent); legs (an estimated 23 percent); eyes (an estimated 15 percent); head, face, and ears (an estimated 15 percent); and arms (an estimated 10 percent).
  • Fifty-eight percent of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to hands, fingers, arms, and legs.
  • Approximately 87 percent of the victims were treated at a hospital emergency department and then released. An estimated 12 percent of patients were treated and transferred to another hospital, or admitted to the hospital.
  • CPSC staff conducted telephone follow-up investigations on a selected sample of fireworks- related injuries reported in NEISS during the special study period to clarify information about the incident scenario or fireworks type. A review of data from the 9 completed follow-up investigations showed that most injuries were associated with misuse or malfunctions of fireworks. Most victims recovered or were expected to recover completely. However, there were victims who reported that their injuries may be long term.
###

MEDIA CONTACT

Joe Dougherty
DPS Public Affairs Director
Department of Public Safety
JDOUGHERTY@UTAH.GOV

SHARE THIS MEDIA ALERT

More from the News Room

Motorcyclist Killed on I-80

June 2020

Fatal Crash: San Juan County on SR-191 at Milepost 78

May 2020

Utah’s New Lane Filtering Law

May 2019

Truck drivers stop to assist State Trooper

July 2020

Four juveniles ejected on I-15 near Scipio

July 2020

Fatal Accident on I-15 near Mile Marker 231

July 2020