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The Catalyst

Study reports increase in fireworks-related injurieis

Staff Report

As the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission urges consumers to celebrate safely. A new CPSC study issued today highlights an increase in the number of fireworks-related deaths and injuries. Device malfunction and improper use are associated with the most injuries.

In 2013, there were eight deaths and an estimated 11,400 consumers who sustained injuries related to fireworks. This is an increase from 8,700 injuries in 2012. Sixty-five percent, or 7,400, of the injuries in 2013 occurred in the 30 days surrounding July 4, 2013. CPSC staff reviewed fireworks incident reports from hospital emergency rooms, death certificate files, news clippings and other sources to estimate deaths, injuries and incident scenarios. Injuries were frequently the result of the user playing with lit fireworks or igniting fireworks while holding the device. Consumers also reported injuries related to devices that malfunctioned or devices that did not work as expected, including injuries due to errant flight paths, devices that tipped over and blowouts.

“CPSC works year-round to help prevent deaths and injuries from legal and illegal fireworks,” said Acting Chairman Bob Adler. “We engage the fireworks industry, monitor incoming fireworks shipments at the ports, and enforce federal safety rules, so that all Americans have a safe Fourth of July.”

Last year, children younger than age 5 experienced a higher estimated per capita injury rate than any other age group. Past reports indicate that consumers sometimes feel comfortable handing off to children fireworks devices perceived to be less powerful, such as sparklers and bottle rockets. In 2013, sparklers and rockets accounted for more than 40 percent of all estimated injuries.

According to the report, fireworks incidents become deadly when banned, professional and home-manufactured devices are involved. In each of the eight fireworks-related deaths recorded in 2013, the victim was manipulating (or was a bystander to someone who was handling) a banned, professional or home-manufactured device.
Edward C. Jauch, M.D., professor, and director in the Division of Emergency Medicine offers several safety facts and tips to consider when handling fireworks:

For more information regarding fireworks safety, visit:
http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks/

Fireworks Safety

  • Fireworks can cause serious injury and death-each day close to 250 people require Emergency Department visits across the US during the summer due to firework injuries.
  • There were 25,691 emergency department visits for fireworks–related injuries between 2006–2010.
  • The most common location of injury are the hands, face, and eyes.
  • Just because it didn’t go “boom” when you thought it would doesn’t mean it won’t-do not approach an unexploded piece of fireworks, it may go off at any time
  • Sparklers burn 3 times hotter than the melting point of lead, over 2000 degrees C, and cause nearly a third of all firework injuries each year!
  • Fireworks intended for professionals are most commonly wrapped in plain brown paper-do not attempt to use
  • Do not point fireworks at any person or crowd of people
  • Be careful using fireworks in high risk fire areas
  • Children require adult supervision when working with fireworks.About 14 percent of all firework injuries occur in children, ages 5 and younger.
July 5, 2014

 

 
 
 

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