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Protecting Utah

Celebrating with Fireworks? Make Sure You Celebrate Safely

Friday July 1, 2022
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

More than 19,500 reported fires are started by fireworks annually.

National Fire Protection Association
Trees in a forest on fire.

 

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

 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.

The following information is from a Consumer Products Safety Commission report on a significant upward trend in fireworks-related injuries over the last 15 years:

  • Of the nine U.S. deaths, six were associated with firework misuse, one death was associated with a mortar launch malfunction, and two incidents were associated with unknown circumstances. 
  • There were an estimated 11,500 emergency room-treated injuries involving fireworks in 2021—down from the spike (15,600) experienced in 2020, during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many public displays were cancelled.
  • An estimated 8,500 fireworks-related injuries (or 74 percent of the total estimated fireworks-related injuries in 2021) occurred during the 1-month special study period between June 18 and July 18 last year.
  • Young adults 20 to 24 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries in 2021.
  • In 2021, there were an estimated 1,500 emergency department-treated injuries associated with firecrackers and 1,100 involving sparklers. 
  • In 2021, the parts of the body most often injured by fireworks were hands and fingers (an estimated 31 percent of injuries) along with head, face, and ears (an estimated 21 percent).
  • About 32 percent of the emergency department-treated fireworks-related injuries in 2021 were for burns.
  • In 2021, approximately 31 percent of selected and tested fireworks products were found to contain noncompliant components, including fuse violations, the presence of prohibited chemicals and pyrotechnic materials overload.
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MEDIA CONTACT

Hillary Koellner
Director of Public Affairs
Department of Public Safety
hmkoellner@utah.gov

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