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Fireworks: Balancing danger and fun

Fireworks are a long-standing tradition to celebrate the Fourth of July across the country, whether families attend professional firework displays or buy firecrackers and sparklers to celebrate at home. While the COVID-19 pandemic will change how Americans celebrate this year, Tennessee families must be mindful of how dangerous fireworks can be.

Fireworks are more dangerous than you think

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 9,100 people went to the emergency room to treat serious injuries from fireworks in 2018 between June 22 and July 22. The most common injuries caused by fireworks include:

  • Hand injuries (28%)
  • Leg injuries (24%)
  • Eye injuries (19%)

And out of all these injuries, roughly 44% of them involved serious burns. While burns may be the most common injuries, fireworks are unpredictable. They can cause severe injuries to any part of the body.

Additionally, setting off fireworks can lead to fires. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) found that fireworks caused nearly 19,500 fires in 2018, including house fires, vehicle fires and outdoor fires.

How can you stay safe?

The National Safety Council states that the best way to stay safe is to attend professional firework displays and avoid using fireworks at home.

However, if you wish to use legal consumer fireworks, you must know the risks involved and take extra precautions. You should:

  • Keep a safe distance away from structures, vehicles and people;
  • Wear eye and hand protection, as well as proper clothing;
  • Never let children play with fireworks;
  • Keep a bucket of water, hose or fire extinguisher nearby;
  • Soak used fireworks before disposing of them; and
  • Avoid using alcohol while working with fireworks.

Simply because you have used fireworks before with no issues or injuries does not mean this risk does not exist. If you plan on celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks this year, you should ​take safety seriously to avoid a potentially life-changing injury.

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