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5 deaths, thousands of injuries caused by fireworks in 2018

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EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – As the July 4th holiday approaches, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning Americans to be careful around fireworks.

Wednesday, the CPSC used mannequins to recreate real accidents involving fireworks. The dramatic demonstrations showed the potential dangers of improperly handling fireworks.

Ann Marie Buerkle, the chair of the CPSC said there were at least five deaths last year related to fireworks. The victims ranged in age from 19 to 49.

“All of the deaths were associated with reloadable, aerial devices, which can be either a professional firework or a consumer firework,” Buerkle explained.

The CPSC also tracks fireworks injuries. According to the agency, about 9,100 people went to the ER for injuries from fireworks in 2018.

It’s not just large explosions that are dangerous. Sparklers can reach 2,000 degrees and are able to burn skin and tissue down to the bone, according to the CPSC.

“More than 50 percent, so more than half of all fireworks injury happened while adequate and direct adult supervision present,” said Dr. Sarah Combs, from Children’s National Medical Center.

The CPSC provided a list of tips for those who plan to use fireworks this summer:

  • Check that consumer fireworks are legal in your area before purchasing or using them.
  • Never use or make professional-grade fireworks. Don’t use fireworks packaged in brown paper, as this often means they are intended for professional displays.
  • Never let young children play with or light fireworks, including sparklers.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over fireworks when igniting them. Move to a safe distance after lighting fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at or around others.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move away quickly. 
  • Keep a bucket of water or hose nearby when lighting fireworks. 
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Instead, soak them in water and dispose of them. 
  • After fireworks have completed burning, wet the spent device before discarding to prevent a trash fire.

There have been at least 121 fireworks related deaths since 2003, according to the CPSC.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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