Consumer Fireworks Safety - Don't Ruin Your Fourth Of July
By Firefighter Mark Robertson Sr.
June 25, 2020

Each year firefighters and emergency medical personnel, along with hospital emergency rooms, must deal with the devastating consequences of fireworks accidents. Fireworks lead to numerous injuries and fires every year. Along with causing injuries and fires, incidents involving fireworks can lead to criminal charges and civil penalties.

An estimated 19,500 fires started by fireworks were reported to local US fire departments in 2018. These fires caused five civilian deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage.

Based on 2014-2018 annual averages:

•Brush, grass, or forest fires accounted for three of every five (59 percent) of fireworks fires.

•Only nine percent of the fireworks fireswere structure fires; but, these incidents accounted for almost all of the fire deaths, three-quarters (74 percent) of the fire injuries, and 45 percent of the fire property damage.

•More than one-quarter (28 percent) of fires started by fireworks in 2014-2018 were reported on the Fourth of July.

•The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that 9,100 consumer fireworks-related injuries were seen in US hospital emergency departments in 2018.*

•Burns accounted for 44 percent of the fireworks-related injuries seen in the month around July 4.

•Many fireworks-related injuries were caused by fireworks that are legal in most states, however in 2017 the State of New Jersey legalized Ground Based Sparkling Devices and Novelties. Please see the attached photo for a description of legal and illegal fireworks in New Jersey.

The National Fire Protection Association has provided useful information on the dangers of fireworks. You can find this information by visiting the association's website by clicking on the link below.

Hyperlinks: National Fire Protection Association Fireworks Safety Page
New Jersey Definition of Sparkling Devices and Novelties