Firework injuries send people to hospitals across U.S. as authorities issue warnings

Officials across the country are urging Americans to practice firework safety as accidents send people to the hospital in different states. 

Almost 75% of all fireworks-related injuries in the U.S. last year happened during the month surrounding the Fourth of July, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said in late June. There were 11 reported fireworks-related deaths in 2022, mostly associated with mortar-style devices. Victims ranged in age from 11 to 43. There were also 10,200 fireworks-related injuries in 2022. 

One person was killed and four others injured Tuesday morning in east Texas in an incident involving fireworks explosions and other incendiaries, the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

On Monday night, a woman died and nine other people were injured after fireworks exploded at a home in western Michigan, authorities said,  

On Sunday, a 58-year-old man in Illinois was critically injured when a commercial-grade firework exploded in his face, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said. “He lit a firework, which did not detonate as expected,” the sheriff’s office said. “The man looked into the tube housing of the firework and it discharged, striking his face and then exploding.”

A man in Indiana was injured Sunday night when a firework was “launched into his vehicle, exploding and causing injury,” the Bargersville Fire Department said. Investigators are looking into where the fireworks came from.

Earlier in the weekend, firework injuries were reported in New Hampshire and Kansas, with three serious injuries across two incidents on Saturday. An outbuilding in Lexington Township in Kansas was on fire and fireworks were actively exploding when firefighters arrived around 10:15 p.m. on Saturday. Rescue workers dragged the victims to safety. 

A Maryland explosion on Tuesday is believed to have been caused by someone either manufacturing or modifying fireworks ahead of the Fourth of July, CBS affiliate WUSA reported. Two people were rushed to the hospital after the incident. The damage to the home was extensive enough that it was condemned. 

Most injuries and deaths caused by fireworks are preventable, the CPSC said. The safety agency and the Department of Homeland Security have released safety tips:

  • Never let young kids play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Only use fireworks outside. 
  • Have a safety perimeter. If you have ground-based fireworks, keep viewers at least 35 feet away. For aerial fireworks, you’ll want spectators to move back to a distance of about 150 feet.
  • Keep a hose or bucket of water handy.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly. 
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited.
  • Let duds sit for 5-10 minutes before you put them in a bucket of water.
  • Check the firework laws where you live. 
  • Only set off fireworks labeled for consumer use, not ones labeled for professional use. 
  • Don’t use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • Soak used and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.

Officials also suggest considering safer alternatives to fireworks, such as party poppers, bubbles, silly string or glow sticks.

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