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Fireworks are fun, but they can be dangerous

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission graphic

The city of Morgantown has also posted posted its local fireworks ordinance.While it wouldn't feel like the Fourth of July without fireworks, it's important to remember that all fireworks, even sparklers, can be dangerous.


"The safest way to view fireworks is to watch professional displays,”  Consumer Product Safety Commission Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric said in a news release. “If you choose to light your own, make sure you only buy legal fireworks intended for consumer use from a reputable retailer."

A new CPSC report says that in 2023, the commission received reports of eight deaths and an estimated 9,700 injuries involving fireworks. Out of the eight deaths, five were associated with firework misuse, two with a device malfunction, and one involved unknown circumstances.

A CPSC analysis of the injury data found that in the four weeks leading up to and including Independence Day in 2023, teens aged 15-19 had the highest estimated rate of emergency-department visits visits for fireworks-related injuries, followed by children aged 5-9.

City of Morgantown Fireworks Ordinance (zoom in to view)

Of those ED visits, the analysis found that an estimated 800 of the injuries were associated with firecrackers and 700 were associated with sparklers. The report says sparklers accounted for 51% of the total estimated injuries in children under the age of 5. 

"Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit -- hot enough to melt some metals," says the release.  

For using sparklers, here are safety tips from Michigan Medicine: 

--Hold sparkler away from face.

--Wear shoes when using sparklers.

--Only use one sparkler at a time.

--Stay six feet apart from others.

First-aid tips for burns, from Michigan Medicine: 

--Be prepared to use first aid. For a minor burn, place a towel soaked in cool water over the area for about five minutes. Then cover with a clean bandage and give your child acetaminophen to reduce pain and swelling.

--For a major burn, or if the burn involves eyes, take the child to the emergency room promptly.

--Here are some overall safety tips from the Kentucky state fire marshal: 

--Use fireworks outdoors only.

--Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.

--Always keep a bucket of water or a working water hose nearby.

--Only use fireworks as intended. Don't try to alter them or combine them.

--Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

--Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.

--Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a "designated adult operator."

--Do not use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives -- they can kill you!

--Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.

--Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.

--Read and follow all instructions on the label.


By Melissa Patrick

Kentucky Health News


Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.


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