Where will you celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s independence? Will you partake in a firework display, or a backyard barbecue? Recognition of the Fourth of July began in the year 1776 when the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, setting the 13 colonies free. Many people celebrate this national holiday by watching fireworks, or putting on a show themselves. Although these colorful displays can be mesmerizing, it is important to know the dangers associated with them.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 7,400 of the injuries (65 percent) that occurred in 2013 were sustained in the 30 days surrounding July 4th.  These firework-related accidents often occur when fireworks are illegal or handmade. Device malfunction and improper use are the most common causes of injury. Fireworks can make crowds ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’, but only if they are used safely and responsibly. Be safe and have fun if you plan to attend any of these Fourth of July events in the DC Metro area!

Did You Know?

  • In 1776, the population in the 13 colonies was 2.5 million. This July 4th, it will be 318.4 million.
  • Sparklers cause 23% of fireworks injuries according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
  • The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children 0-4, followed by children ages 10-14 (NFPA).
  • On the Fourth of July, more fires are reported than on any other day of the year and fireworks account for 40% of all fires (NFPA).

Firework Safety Tips:

If fireworks are legal where you live and you are considering the use of fireworks in private festivities, keep these safety tips in mind:

  1. Use fireworks outside and only as intended.
  2. Light fireworks one at a time then move back quickly. Stay clear of people, bushes, leaves, homes and flammable substances.
  3. Wear eye protection and have a bucket of water or hose nearby.
  4. Don’t hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting.
  5. Never re-light a “dud” firework. Some may still ignite at any time. Wait 20 minutes and then soak in water before throwing in a trash can.

Sources: National Fire Protection Administration, National Council on Firework Safety, Prevent Blindness America, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.