Fireworks deaths and injuries jumped by 50% in 2020, report finds


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Fireworks-related injuries and deaths jumped in 2020, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission believes it’s because of more people putting on their own, at-home displays.

It was a 50% increase, the CPSC report said, adding that:

  • At least 18 people died from fireworks-related incidents in 2020, compared to 12 reported in 2019.
  • About 15,600 people were treated in hospital emergency departments for fireworks injuries in 2020. There were about 10,000 ER-treated fireworks injuries in 2019.

The commission speculates that it could be due to professional Fourth of July fireworks shows largely being canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A majority of the injuries happened between June 21 and July 21, the commission reports. Eight of the people who died last year had alcohol or drugs in their system.

Most of the ER patients were there for firecracker injuries, about 1,600, and then 900 patients were injured by sparklers, according to CPSC.

Here are some tips from the CPSC about celebrating safely:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from the fireworks device quickly.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water, and throw them away.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, to prevent a trash fire, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase and set off fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Authorities in the Bay Area have been cracking down on illegal fireworks ahead of the holiday weekend. Last week, two suspects were arrested and allegedly caught with 15,000 pounds of illegal fireworks.

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