Don't Be Dazzled By Fireworks

Last year, 10 people died in fireworks-related accidents and 11,000 people suffered fireworks-related injuries, up from 8,500 the previous year. Most of these injuries - 6,600 in the year 2000 – occur in the 30 days before and after the Fourth of July.

In many areas, setting off fireworks is illegal. Nine states – Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont – ban fireworks altogether. Most of the other states limit or regulate the use and sale of fireworks.

If you live in an area where fireworks are permitted and you are planning to set some off to mark Independence Day, the CPSC has these safety tips:

  • Do not allow young children to play with fireworks under any circumstances. Sparklers, considered by many the ideal "safe" firework for the young, burn at very high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing. Children cannot understand the danger involved and cannot act appropriately in case of emergency.
  • Permit older children to use fireworks only under close adult supervision. Do not allow any running or horseplay.

  • Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves or grass and flammable materials.

  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions.

  • Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that don't go off.

  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.

  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.

  • Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.

  • Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.

  • Store fireworks in a dry, cool place. Check instructions for special storage.

For more information, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission or read the 2000 Fireworks Annual Report.

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