Fireworks safety

From 1994 to 2021 there has been a 74.7% decrease in injuries per hundred thousand pounds of consumer fireworks used in the U.S., while there has been a 265% increase in consumption.

Consumption has increased from 117 million pounds in 1994 to 428.8 million pounds in 2021, and injuries per 100 thousand pounds of fireworks used during the same period dropped from 10.7 to 2.7.

2021 was a record-breaking year in the U.S. with the greatest use of fireworks and the lowest fireworks-related injury rate ever recorded. Use up by a factor of 4 since 1994, while the injury rate is a quarter of what it was then. Truly incredible results.1994 was the first year the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory (AFSL) tested consumer fireworks in China for compliance with U.S. safety standards as regulated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

People need to be respectful of neighbors when shooting fireworks.

Make sure to let your neighbors know the time you will be shooting your fireworks, and make sure the time is within what is permitted by your local ordinances. Do not start too late in the evening, as most firework shows end by 11 p.m. Among the key safety measures, we recommend the following:

5 A sober adult should be in charge of the fireworks; children should never handle the products.

5 Use common sense and be careful; follow your local laws on fireworks use.

5 Use fireworks on hard, flat surfaces; if you shoot on grass, lay a plywood board as your hard, flat surface.

5 Have water readily available for emergencies (hose is best; fire extinguisher or bucket of water will work.)

5 Keep plenty of distance between the launch site and spectators — 150 ft. for aerials and 35-50 ft. for ground items; and shoot in a clear open area.

5 Brace your aerials, tubes, and fountains with bricks to avoid tip-over; Use safety gear (safety glasses and gloves) when lighting fireworks.

5 Douse your fireworks thoroughly with water when you are done, and dispose of them in a covered metal container outdoors and away from any buildings.

(William A. Weimer is vice president of Phanton Fireworks Cos. in Ohio.)


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