Fireworks Safety

The Columbia Fire Department urges citizens to leave fireworks to the professionals.

Would you let your child play with fire?

Every year thousands of Americans, mostly children, are hurt by consumer fireworks such as sparklers and firecrackers. Many are burned, scarred or disfigured by fireworks that are legal but still very dangerous and cause fires. This year an alliance of health and safety advocates asks you to keep fireworks from hurting your family. The risk is too great.

Facts & Figures

  1. In 2004, fireworks started an estimated 1,600 structure fires and 600 vehicle fires which were reported to local fire departments. These fires resulted in 20 civilian injuries and $21 million in direct property damage. There were no reported civilian deaths.
  2. In 2003, 100 people were killed in a Rhode Island night club fire ignited by the indoor use of pyrotechnics in a small, crowded room with wall linings that promoted rapid flame spread. The facility had no sprinkler protection.
  3. In 2005, 10,800 people were treated at hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries. More than half (54%) of 2005 fireworks injuries were burns. Contusions and lacerations were second (29%), and were twice as common as burns when the injury was to any part of the head or face, including the eye. Hands or fingers were the part of the body injured in 30% of the incidents.  In 24% of the cases, the eye was involved; other parts of the face or head accounted for 20% of the injuries.
  4. The highest risks of fireworks injury are to school-age children. In 2005, nearly half of the people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15.  The highest injury rate relative to population was for ages 10-14 with nearly 3 times the risk of the entire population.
  5. Males accounted for nearly 7 out of every 10 (69%) fireworks injuries.
  6. Based on the amount of time and quantities in use, fireworks pose a higher risk of fire death than any other consumer product. Although cigarettes are the leading cause of fire death, the risk that someone will die from fire when fireworks are being used is higher relative to the corresponding risk when cigarettes are burning.
  7. On Independence Day in a typical year, more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for half of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
  8. Five states ban the use of fireworks by consumers (DE, MA, NJ, NY, and RI). The other 45 states and the District of Columbia permit some or all consumer fireworks.

Source: National Fire Protection Agency