Fireworks and Your Safety

Each July 4th, (and July 24th in Utah) thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks – devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death.

For many in Utah, the use of fireworks has become a tradition. The beautifully colored sparks fly though the air in concert with thunderous reports. As exciting as this may seem, people often forget that they are playing with explosive materials, dangerous chemicals and combustibles that can destroy property, harm or cause death to unsuspecting victims. These deceptively simple objects explode, throwing unburned powder, hot sparks and embers through the air at high velocities and often create temperatures hotter than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Even sparklers can reach up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause severe burns.

Fireworks by the numbers

  • Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage.  
  • In Utah from 2002 to 2006, 367 fireworks related fire incidents were reported, resulting in over $490,000 loss. The safest way to enjoy the thrill of fireworks, pyrotechnic displays and flame effects is to let the professionals handle these products and attend a public fireworks display, a concert where pyrotechnics react to show design or professional, community or local displays.
  • In 2015, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,900 people for fireworks related injuries; 51% of those injuries were to the extremities and 41% were to the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for one-quarter (26%) of the estimated 2015 injuries. Sparklers account for 25% of emergency room fireworks injuries. These injury estimates were obtained from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2015 Fireworks Annual Report by Yongling Tu. 


  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Purchase fireworks from reliable, licensed fireworks dealers.
  • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and placing them in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • Report illegal explosives; firecrackers, aerial devices, M-80’s, cherry bombs, Bottlerockets, roman candles, single or reloadable mortars, and ground salutes are still unlawful

Remember to keep an eye on children around fireworks. Sparkler sparks can jump and burn little arms and hands. Also, watch your pets: the loud, sudden noises can cause them to panic. Make sure everyone is wearing footwear to avoid stepping on hot embers. Be thoughtful of your neighbors, too. Shooting bottle rockets at your neighbors’ roofs or blowing the lids off mailboxes is not considerate and is also illegal.

Fireworks are an American tradition. Safety and common sense are so important as we celebrate the holidays with fireworks. Shooting fireworks can provide hours of wholesome family entertainment, but must be use carefully and safely.

Check your local area firework restrictions here

Listen to our interview on KLCY regarding Fireworks Safety


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