Be safe this holiday; 2015 was the worst year for fire injuries in 15 years

Hands of people holding glowing bengal lights

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) – Fireworks during the Fourth of July are as American as apple-pie, but did you know that 2 out of 5 fires reported on that day are started by fireworks, more than for any other cause? Injuries and even deaths due to fireworks also increase during the Independence Day holiday.

According to the latest national data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 2015 was the worst year for fireworks injuries in at least 15 years. Injuries from fireworks accounted for 11,900 emergency room visits and 11 deaths in 2015. Of the 11 deaths, nine involved people misusing reloadable fireworks, often trying to hold them when they fired, either on their head or in their hands.

In Michigan, consumer fireworks became legal January 1, 2012, and must meet CPSC standards. They will only be sold to people 18 years of age or older. Low impact fireworks (ground-based items such as sparklers, toy snakes, snaps, and poppers) are legal for sale and use.

“The safest way to enjoy fireworks is professional displays,” said State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer. “If you do plan to shoot your own fireworks, remember these are explosives and that if used incorrectly, can cause irreparable injury and harm. Certified fireworks retailers aim to make safety their top priority.”

You can enjoy your holiday and the fireworks by following a few simple safety tips…

Proceed with caution!

  • Be safe. If you want to see fireworks, go to a public show put on by trained experts. To find a fireworks display near you, check out the listings HERE.
  • Parents and caregivers should always closely supervise children at events where fireworks are used.
  • Sparklers burn at more than 1,200 °F and cause 3rd degree burns in seconds.
  • Place discarded sparker wires in a metal bucket filled with water.
  • 16% of fireworks injuries each year throughout the United States are caused by sparklers.
  • After the firework display, children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over since they may still be active.
  • Leave pets at home and keep them inside during firework displays.

For more information, visit http://www.michigan.gov/bfs or Fireworks Safety from NFPA.

E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety urges Michiganders to follow common sense safety rules this Fourth of July during holiday celebrations Where You Live!

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