Leave fireworks to the pros this Fourth of July

June 19, 2024

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Fireworks are a Fourth of July tradition for many families, but it’s important to remember that fireworks are illegal in the City and County of Denver and that any improperly handled fireworks can lead to serious trouble. So, leave the fireworks to the professionals.

Injuries from fireworks

  • An estimated 10,200 injuries from fireworks were treated in hospitals in the U.S. in 2022, and 11 people died.
  • 7,446 of those injuries occurred during the one month surrounding the July 4 holiday.
  • Adults aged 25-44 experienced about 36% of firework injuries in 2022, and children younger than 15 accounted for 28%.
  • Burns were the most common type of injury from fireworks, making up 38% of all emergency department-treated firework injuries in 2022.
  • In 2018, fireworks caused nearly 19,500 fires, including 1,900 structural fires.

The Fourth of July stands out as the summer holiday for family, friends, barbecues and fireworks. Attending a professional fireworks show in your community can be a great way to celebrate. But if you choose to set off fireworks of your own this summer, the Denver Health Trauma and Injury Prevention team would like to make sure you practice proper firework safety etiquette. We have put together a few common firework safety tips to help you and your family get through the holiday incident free.

For those who live in areas where fireworks are legal, follow these safety tips to ensure a fun and safe Fourth of July for you and your family:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to families.
  • Always have an adult supervise firework activities; parents don't realize that young children can suffer injuries from sparklers, which burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse; back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Spend your Fourth of July weekend enjoying the beauty of fireworks, not reacting to an avoidable accident. By practicing proper fireworks safety, you and your family can enjoy a beautiful (and safe) fireworks-filled celebration.

Topics: Trauma