(NEXSTAR) – As Americans prepare to light the fuse on the Fourth of July, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is sharing its annual reminder on just how dangerous fireworks can be if used without caution.
This year’s video contains footage showing some of the dangers of improper use of fireworks, leading to the loss of heads, hands and eggy eyes of mannequins.
USCPSC Commissioner Peter Feldman also joined with Steve Houser, President of the National Fireworks Association, to share a number of tips for Americans to celebrate Independence Day safely, including:
- Always have a bucket of water or a hose nearby.
- Block and brace your fireworks. The easiest way to do this is with cinder blocks or bricks. This prevents fireworks from tipping over and potentially causing injury or even property damage
- Take precautions to know your surroundings and avoid trees or other structures.
- Never re-light a dud firework.
- With the exception of sparklers, fireworks aren’t meant to be held while ignited. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t hold a lit firework and for everyone’s safety, don’t point them at others.
- Avoid fireworks that are in anonymous brown packaging. Those are professional grade fireworks and much too dangerous to be handled by people who aren’t professional pyrotechnicians.
- Look for the company logo, website and mandated CPSC warning labels on the packaging.
- Always have a “designated shooter” for fireworks.
The annual safety report and accompanying video come this year after Americans say record-numbers of injuries from fireworks in 2020 as private displays took over from public celebrations canceled at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to USCPSC data, 18 people died from fireworks-related injuries in 2020, up from 12 the year before, and around 15,600 people went to hospital ERs with injuries.
The most common injuries were burns, which accounted for 44 percent of cases last year. Injuries to the hands and fingers were 30 percent of the cases, followed by injuries to the head, face and ears at 22 percent and eye injuries 15 percent.