ALLENTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — Millions of Pennsylvanians are preparing to celebrate Independence Day, July 4, and State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego joined local leaders and the Burn Prevention Network (BPN) to urge all those preparing to take the necessary steps to protect both their loved ones and property.

In 2018, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported five nonprofessional fireworks-related deaths and around 9,100 patients that were treated for for firework related injuries in hospital emergency rooms.

“We say it every year because it’s true, fireworks are not toys,” Trego said. “With significant progress being made on the vaccination front, this summer holds the promise of a return to normalcy in many ways. Much like a vaccine, there are many simple precautions we can take to ensure a fireworks display doesn’t result in an unnecessary trip to an emergency room.”

Trego provided the following suggestions for a safe Independence Day celebration:

  • Never allow children to play with fireworks, even sparklers, which can burn at temperatures of at least 1200 degrees
  • Only allow adults to light fireworks one at a time, then quickly back away
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of a fire
  • After the fireworks have burned, fully douse them with water before picking them up or disposing to prevent trash fires
  • Never use fireworks after consuming alcohol, or other medications or substances that can impair judgment or the ability to react quickly to an emergency.
  • Whether attending a professional display or using consumer fireworks, always remain at a safe distance from the ignition location.
  • Be sensitive to neighbors and their pets, particularly if military veterans live nearby.

According to BPN CERO Dan Dillard, the sale of consumer fireworks have more than doubled between 2019 and 2020 i the United States. With an increase in sales came an increase by 50% in fireworks-related injuries as well.

“BPN understands that fireworks are a traditional part of many community celebrations. Staying safe and informed while celebrating is why we have launched ‘Celebrate Safely PA!” a statewide public safety campaign,” Dillard said.