Report: Fireworks injuries and deaths up 50% in 2020

Fourth of July

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Many people in the Midstate will be celebrating the Fourth of July this weekend, but there’s an alarming trend of people being hurt and killed by fireworks.

A new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows a 50% increase in injuries and deaths from fireworks last year over the previous year.

The commission says the increase may have been because public fireworks displays were canceled due to the pandemic and more people were using consumer-grade fireworks.

The number one source of injuries was firecrackers, and number two was sparklers.

“Don’t spend the 4th of July in the emergency room. Make sure that if you’re using consumer fireworks that you’re using them as safely as possible,” Patty Davis, spokesperson for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said. “Don’t give a sparkler to a child. It burns at 2,000 degrees.”

Davis says of the 18 deaths they saw last year, eight of them involved people who used alcohol and drugs prior to the incident.

Some important reminders include: Never try to relight or fix fireworks that don’t go off. Move to a safe distance as soon as you set them off. And never put any part of your body directly over the fireworks when lighting a fuse.

“There is no money that you can put on the loss of an eye, of severe burns, or even the death of somebody that got injured with fireworks,” Bruce Trego, Pennsylvania state fire commissioner said.

Trego is urging everyone to use common sense and be aware of where you’re setting off fireworks.

Stay 150 feet away from other buildings. Make sure you have a bucket of water to extinguish the fireworks after they’ve safely been out for 20 minutes or more,” Trego said.

For those who want to play it safe and just leave it to the professionals, the City of Harrisburg is hosting its annual fireworks display from City Island on Sunday night starting at 9:15 p.m.

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