BULLHEAD CItY — Every year, fire departments across the country respond to emergencies involving the use of fireworks.
Some are property damage incidents where fireworks have ignited a fire. Often times, it’s a field or vacant lot. Sometimes, it’s a home or other structure.
If property damage caused by fireworks isn’t bad enough, emergency personnel often are called to treat injured people who either were igniting or watching others ignite fireworks.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission 2017 report stated an estimated 12,900 firework-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. Of those, 36% were people younger than 15 years old.
Children 10 to 14 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency treated firework-related injuries, while young adults aged 20-24 years of age had the second-highest estimated rate.
A third of those injuries were to hands and arms. About 22% were to the head, face and ears and another 14% were to the eyes.
Sadly, many parents remain unaware of the potential dangers of fireworks, especially when it comes to sparklers. A sparkler burns at a temperature of 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily cause a third-degree burn, especially to a young child.
The National Fire Protection Association advised fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and 16,900 outside and other fires.
These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage.
The best way to protect your family is not to use fireworks at home, period. The Bullhead City Fire Department recommends attending public firework shows and leaving the lighting to the professionals.
If you do choose to use fireworks, please follow these safety guidelines:
- Fireworks should be used only under adult supervision.
- Fireworks should be only used outdoors on a driveway, sidewalk or other fire-resistant surface. Remember, fires are caused by careless handling of fireworks in areas exposed to sparks or live fireworks.
- Never ignite fireworks during high winds where flying sparks can start a fire.
- Keep a bucket of water handy in case sparks start a fire.
- Be sure children around fireworks know to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches on fire.
- Deposit sparklers in a metal container as they may be stepped on while hot or lost in the grass and stepped on while playing.
- Never try to re-ignite fireworks that malfunction or fail to go off.
- Do not wear loose clothing when using fireworks.
- Never experiment or make your own fireworks.