WASHINGTON, D.C. – As families and friends gather for the Fourth of July holiday at backyard barbeques, cookouts and pool parties, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is reminding consumers to celebrate safely when using fireworks. At a fireworks safety press conference and demonstration today on the National Mall, CPSC announced that eight fireworks-related deaths were reported in 2017, with victims ranging in age from four to 57.
There were an estimated 12,900 fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries in 2017. Moreover, about 67 percent of the estimated annual fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries for 2017 occurred during the month surrounding the Fourth of July holiday, between June 16, 2017 and July 16, 2017. During this one month period, sparklers were the number one cause of injuries, accounting for 14 percent of the estimated injuries.
“CPSC works year round to help prevent deaths and injuries from fireworks,” said Ann Marie Buerkle, CPSC acting chairman. “Beyond CPSC’s efforts, we want to make sure everyone takes simple safety steps to celebrate safely with their family and friends. We work with the fireworks industry, monitor incoming fireworks shipments at the ports and enforce federal fireworks safety regulations, so that all Americans have a safe Fourth of July.”
In CPSC’s new fireworks report, five of the eight deaths were related to reloadable aerial devices; one was associated with devices manufactured at home, one involved a firecracker, and one was related to sparklers. Seven victims died from direct impacts of fireworks, and one victim died in a house fire caused by misusing a firecracker.
Michael Spencer, a pilot from Bowling Green, Kentucky, knows all too well how dangerous fireworks can be if not used safely. While on vacation in 2015, he was injured by a shell-and-mortar style fireworks device and lost several fingers on both hands, undergoing more than 11 surgeries. Spencer shared his story during CPSC’s fireworks event. He is now committed to making sure this tragedy does not happen to anyone else.
“Fireworks can be extremely dangerous, even if they are legal,” said Spencer. “My advice would be to leave them to the professionals.”
Consumers who decide to purchase consumer fireworks are urged to follow these safety steps:
For more information, visit the fireworks safety education center and check for fireworks recalls at CPSC.gov. Reporting of fireworks-related deaths for 2017 is not complete, and the number of deaths in 2017 should be considered a minimum.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals – contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
For more lifesaving information, follow us on Facebook, Instagram @USCPSC and Twitter @USCPSC or sign up to receive our e-mail alerts. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC’s Hotline at 800-638-2772 or teletypewriter at 301-595-7054 for the hearing impaired.