Firework Safety

Written by: Justin Hamilton

Firefighter / EMT-Paramedic / PIO in training / Public Education

July 1, 2020

“Remember while celebrating the holidays to stay SAFE!

Family + Friends + Fun + Fireworks Safety = a holiday with great memories.”

Fire Chief Jeff McNeel

What could go wrong?

This year, Independence Day will look wildly different than ever before. Thanks to the current pandemic resulting in social distancing orders and increased occupancy restrictions, we may not have large public displays of celebration for our nation’s independence.

No matter your current political views and whether you will celebrate this upcoming holiday or not, those who do choose to celebrate may end up purchasing their own fireworks to experience the tradition at home or in their neighborhood.

Lets establish a framework of safety that should be associated with fireworks.


Most injured body parts using fireworks:

  • 15% Eyes
  • 16% Head, Face, ad Ears
  • 30% Hands and Fingers
  • 10% Arms
  • 6% Trunk, Other
  • 23% Legs


Independence Day and New Years Eve are the two days which fireworks bring celebration, joy, happiness, and PAIN.

An average of 180 people go to the hospital every day in the month surrounding July 4th with firework related injuries. 57% of all injuries involving fireworks were burns.

Two-thirds of the injuries were sustained by men.

Children under the age of 15 accounted for 36% of the injuries treated in the Emergency Department compared to last year in which nearly half of the injuries were sustained by individuals under the age of 20. 34% of all injuries were from the ages 25-44.

12 deaths were reported to the CPSC (US Consumer Product Safety Commission) in which 7 were related to misuse and 2 were due to malfunction.


Most Dangerous Fireworks:

According to the CPSC,

  • 12% of injuries were from SPARKLERS
  • 11% from FIRECRACKERS
  • 6% from ROMAN CANDLES
  • 5% from BOTTLE ROCKETS
  • 3% from NOVELTIES
  • 56% from unspecified fireworks


The relationship between the type of firework and ages of those injured do not correlate in any way. Most of these victims are injured from usage of fireworks by other people. Namely, rockets and aerial shells (multiple-tube, re-loadable devices) can harm others from a great distance away.

Sparklers alone can burn between 1200 degrees F (as reported by the National Fire Protection Agency) and 2000 degrees F (as reported by CPSC). For perspective, glass burns at 900 degrees F.


Lets talk about fires

Fireworks caused approximately 19,500 fires in 2018.

This includes:

  • 1,900 Structure Fires
  • 500 Vehicle Fires
  • 17,100 outside, and other fires.

These fires resulted in 5 deaths (not included in the above number) and 46 injuries.


With the dangers made clear, a new reverence for fireworks should be evident. So, what should we do to remain safe while maintaining the tradition for celebrating July 4th?


Safety First!

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eye-wear
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
  • Never light them indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Never ignite devices in a container
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire
  • Never use illegal fireworks


Safe Alternatives to Fireworks for Children:

  • Glow Sticks
  • Loud noise makers (usually found at local party stores)
  • Outdoor movie night
  • Red, White, Blue silly string
  • Throw a “birthday party” for the United States
  • Confetti poppers
  • Colored streamers


Local Events:

The City of Beaumont will be hosting their 34th Annual Display of Fireworks on July 4th at 9pm. However, there will be no extra entertainment, no food trucks, and no vendors. They ask that you practice social distancing as well. Here is the link to the event.


Check out the list of sources below to get more insight for safety!


United States Consumer Product Safety Commission 2019 Fireworks Annual Report

NFPA Research by Marty Ahrens June 2020

NFPA Fireworks Safety Tips

United States Consumer Product Safety Commission Firework Information Center

CPSC Fireworks Safety Poster

CPSC News Article

National Safety Council Fireworks Safety

NFPA on Fireworks


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