RALEIGH — Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey today warned North Carolinians about the dangers of fireworks as they celebrate the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
“Firecrackers and sparklers seemed like innocent fun when we were kids, but we now realize these devices can be dangerous – especially to young children,” said Commissioner Causey. “I want all North Carolinians to enjoy a safe holiday, but I encourage everyone to leave the fireworks – even those that are legal in North Carolina – to the professionals.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured each year while using fireworks.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s latest figures, there were 11 deaths and an estimated 11,900 people who sustained injuries due to fireworks in 2015, the most recent data available. It shows injuries from sparklers, bottle rockets and small firecrackers accounted for 3,900 injuries requiring emergency room visits.
A simple, handheld sparkler can burn at a temperature of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit or more. To put that into perspective, water boils at 212 degrees, a cake bakes at 350 degrees and wood burns at 575 degrees.
In addition, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year and these fires cause an average of $43 million in property damage.
The NFPA offers the following fireworks safety tips:
- Leave fireworks to the professionals: The best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.
- If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.
- Be extra careful with sparklers: Little arms are too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,200 degrees. Let your young children use glow sticks instead. They can be just as fun but don’t burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass.
- Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
- Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
- Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
- Point fireworks away from homes and keep away from brush, leaves, and flammable substances.
- Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
- Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
- If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don’t allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.
To learn more about the risks of using fireworks, click here.