As many celebrated the fourth of July, others were dealiing with the tragic consequences of the use of consumer fireworks. Media across the country reported on a number of accidents that occured in recent days. Firehouse.com ran a story from the Chicago Tribune about a demonstration by fire officials that went wrong when an fire chief attempted to show the dangers of consumer fireworks. A canister of fireworks tipped over shooting the fireworks into the crowd and injured a fire safety advocate who was in the audience. In New Hampshire, eleven people, of which five were children, were injured when firworks caused an explosion. According to the Lawrence Eagle Tribune article, police and investigator's from the state fire marshal's office removed 90 boxes of fireworks from the home. In Brooklyn, NY a fire truck responding to a rubbish fire started by fireworks struck and killed a motorcyclist according to a NY1 story.
All are painful examples of what can happen when the public uses fireworks. NFPA urges the public to avoid the use of consumer fireworks citing the risk of fire and injuries. According to NFPA statistics,there are far more fires reported on Independence Day in a typical year than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires. In 2010, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,600 people for fireworks related injuries; 57% of 2010 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 37% were to the head.
Earlier this month, NFPA joined Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan to demonstrate the dangers of consumer fireworks and to urge the public to attend professional displays. Footage from the demonstration is available at www.nfpa.org/fireworks.
As the celebration of the fourth continues into the weekend, NFPA is reminding the public to leave the fireworks to the professionals.