Editor’s note: The following information is from a press release by the Darien-Woodridge Fire District.
The National Fire Protection Association cites the following fireworks-related statistics from 2010:
- Hospital emergency rooms treated 8,600 fireworks-related injuries.
- Nearly 40 percent of the fireworks injuries were to people under age 15, and children ages 5 to 14 have more than twice the risk of injury than the general population.
- Five out of six fireworks-related injuries treated in emergency rooms were caused by products that federal regulations permit consumers to use. Sparklers, fountains and novelties alone counted for 43 percent of the ER visits.
- Of all fireworks-related injuries, 37 percent were to the face, 30 percent to the hand, and 50 percent were burns. Firecrackers and sparklers were responsible for 39 percent of those injuries.
On Independence Day, more than twice as many fires are reported than on an average day -- and fireworks are the leading cause of those fires. An estimated 15,500 reported fires were started by fireworks, resulting in an estimated eight civilian deaths and $36 million in direct property damage.
What are fireworks?
In Illinois, the term “fireworks” does not include snake or glow-worm pellets, smoke devices, sparklers, trick noisemakers (known as party poppers, snappers or cigarette loads), toy guns (cap pistols) or other devices in which paper or plastic caps are used. These devices are often referred to as “novelty” fireworks.
Basically if the “firework” explodes, shoots a flame, or goes up in the air, it is illegal.
Fireworks are not for kids
Teach children at an early age that fireworks are explosive devices, not toys. Make sure children understand it is dangerous to touch or pick up fireworks, and teach them to tell an adult if they find any fireworks.
“Safe and sane” fireworks are neither safe nor sane. Sparklers are designed to throw off sparks, and can burn at temperatures of more than 1,200 degrees. You wouldn’t hand a matchbook or lighter to a child to wave around and play with, so why would you give a child a sparkler?
Don’t be blinded by the dangers of fireworks. Leave the use of fireworks to trained professionals at public displays, just sit back and enjoy the show – safely.