UTAH (ABC4) – The Department of Public Safety (DPS) has released a report on fireworks and firework safety in preparation for the Fourth of July this year.

According to National Fire Protection Association, more than 19,500 fires are started by fireworks annually.

A particular risk can be for wildfires, which can “start anytime the ground is not completely snow-covered.” DPS says it’s important to be especially cautious with fireworks when the fire danger is elevated and fires spread quickly and burn more intensely, during the spring and summer drought periods.

“While exploding and airborne fireworks are the most hazardous, even sparklers, fountains and smoke bombs can cause an ignition.”

Before using fire of any kind in the outdoors:

  • Know the daily fire danger
  • Obtain the proper permits
  • Choose a safe area free of flammable materials
  • Make certain fireworks are completely out and cold before leaving
  • Have water and tools nearby

On average, a reported 180 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the 4th of July.

See below for a map of the most injured body parts.

(Courtesy of Consumer Product Safety Commission)

The Utah State Fire Marshal’s Office encourages anyone celebrating with fireworks to practice the “Four BE’S”:

  • Be Prepared – Store fireworks out of children’s reach. Always read and follow label directions. Place pets indoors (they are easily frightened by fireworks). Always have water handy (a garden hose or bucket of water).
  • Be Responsible – Soak used fireworks thoroughly in a bucket of water. Dispose of used fireworks and debris properly. Never re-light “dud” fireworks; wait 15-20 minutes then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Be Safe – An adult should always light fireworks. Keep matches and lighters away from children. Use fireworks outdoors only. Light only one firework at a time and move away quickly. Keep children and pets away. Always remember, do not throw fireworks or hold them in your hand.
  • Be Aware – Use only legal fireworks. Use fireworks only in legal places. Fireworks are prohibited on all state parks, and state or federal forest lands.

According to a report from the Consumer Products Safety Commission, there has been a significant upward trend in fireworks-related injuries over the last 15 years.

Of the nine U.S. deaths, six were associated with firework misuse, one with a mortar launch malfunction, and two under unknown circumstances.

Overall, there were 11,500 emergency room-treated injuries involving fireworks in 2021, down from the spike of 15,600 experienced in 2020, during the first year of the pandemic when public displays were cancelled. Of the nearly 12,000, an estimated 8,500 fireworks-related injuries (74%) occurred during the month period between June 18 and July 18.

Young adults aged 20 to 24-years-old reportedly had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated fireworks injuries in 2021.

Of 2021’s injuries, the most common involved firecrackers at 1,500 injuries and sparklers at 1,100 injuries. The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (an estimated 31%) along with the head, face and ears (21%).

About 31% of selected and tested fireworks products were reportedly found to contain noncompliant components, including fuse violations, the presence of prohibited chemicals and pyrotechnic materials overload.