Catawba County News
Have a Fun and Safe 4th
Published: June 30, 2022
Catawba County Emergency Services urges everyone to be cautious while celebrating on the 4th of July with family, friends, and fireworks. Unfortunately, over the past 15 years, there has been a marked increase in the number of people injured during the holiday.
“It’s imperative that everyone know the risks involved in using fireworks, so injuries and tragedies can be prevented” according to Karyn Yaussy, Catawba County Emergency Management Coordinator. “The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch the professional displays.”
The most recent report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) finds a significant upward trend in fireworks-related injuries. Between 2006 and 2021, injuries with fireworks climbed 25% in the U.S., according to CPSC estimates. Last year, at least nine people died, and an estimated 11,500 were injured in incidents involving fireworks.
The CPSC’s report shows 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. Of those injuries 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).
Tips to Celebrate Safely
- Make sure your fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase and set off fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use. In North Carolina all firecrackers, ground spinners, bottle rockets, Roman candles, and aerial fireworks are illegal. A simple rule of thumb; anything that explodes or is projected into the air is illegal.
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt some metals.
- Secure pets inside in a space away from the noise and light during fireworks.
- 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 quickly away from the fireworks device.
- Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
- Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
- After fireworks complete their burning, to prevent a trash fire, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding in the trash.