State Fire Marshal stresses fireworks safety during Fourth of July celebrations

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Last year 126 people were injured, 1 killed by fireworks between June 23 and July 20 in Illinois

information provided by the Office of the State Fire Marshal

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (June 24, 2020) – “Due to numerous community fireworks displays being canceled [because of the COVID-19 pandemic], we are concerned that people will resort to lighting fireworks in their backyard,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “It is important to remember fireworks are dangerous and should only be used by someone who has a permit and the proper training.”

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With many community Fourth of July celebrations canceled, some people are creating their own fireworks shows. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused 5 deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage in the United States. These fires are caused not only by commercial/consumer fireworks, but also by unregulated novelty fireworks that are sometimes purchased at local supermarkets.

OSFM Fire Safety Compliance Manager Bob Wetzel said, “Home fireworks should be limited to ‘novelties,’ including sparklers, snappers, poppers, etc., as can be purchased in any general retailer. Even these can be very dangerous. Sparklers account for the greatest number of fireworks injuries, and often to the youngest victims. Sparklers burn in excess of 1200 degrees—hot enough to melt many metals and hot enough turn steel glowing red. An instantaneous touch of this will cause a burn and may result in permanent damage or scarring.”

Healthcare facilities reported 126 persons having been injured and 1 person killed by fireworks during the 2019 seasonal reporting period in Illinois, which is between June 23 and July 20. Approximately half of all injured persons suffered multiple injuries. Males accounted for around 71% of all reported fireworks injuries, compared to just 27% females. Almost half of all injuries (48%) occurred to persons over 22 years of age. Children under 10 years old accounted for 22% of all injuries.