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Fireworks are often used to mark special events and holidays. The only safe way to view fireworks is to attend a professional show. With the possibility of professional firework shows being scarce this year, it is important to know that fireworks are not safe in the hands of consumers.
Every year, about 10,000 people are treated for injuries in hospital emergency departments due to the mishandling of live, misfired and waste consumer fireworks. In addition, fires resulting from fireworks cause over $100 million in direct property damage.
Fireworks are not just a fire and injury hazard, people and pets can be greatly impacted by the seemingly never-ending assault on their ears around the holidays. Please consider your Veteran neighbors who may be suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) or the neighborhood pets that are more sensitive to loud noises, flashing lights and strong smells.
If you have a pet, it is best to leave them safely indoors, preferably with a radio or TV turned on to soften jarring noises.
Fireworks are ILLEGAL in Connecticut for the general public to use. They are to be used by professional, licensed professionals ONLY. Sparklers and fountains, which technically are not considered fireworks, are legally sold and may be used by Connecticut residents who are 16 years old or older.
It's important to know that the use of sky lanterns is also prohibited in Connecticut. Sky lanterns, or Kongming Lanterns, are typically small hot air balloons made of paper, with an opening at the bottom, where a small fire burns. The lantern, with the fire still burning, is released and then becomes airborne. The release of burning sky lanterns presents a serious risk of causing unintentional fires and injury. The flaming lantern can travel over long distances and drop onto rooftops, fields, trees, and power lines; making them a significant fire hazard.
- More than 19,500 reported fires are started by fireworks annually.
- Burns account for 44% of the 9,100 injuries treated in emergency rooms seen in the month around July 4.
- Half of the fireworks injuries seen at emergency rooms were extremities: hand, finger, or leg. One-third were to the eye or other parts of the head.
- Children ages 10–14 had the highest rate of fireworks injury, with more than one-third (36%) of the victims of fireworks injuries under age 15.
- Sparklers account for roughly one-quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries. Remember, these hand-held sparklers burn at 1,200 F. Wood ignites at 356 F and burns at 575 F.
LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES?
Here are a few suggestions that some parents are trying.
- Use glow sticks, they glow in the dark and are a safe alternative to a sparkler. Fun for all ages.
- Outdoor movie night. Set up a screen and projector. Don’t forget the bugs pray!
- Red, white, and blue silly string…fun for all ages.
- Make a patriotic craft with the family.
- Throw a birthday party for the USA, and don’t forget the cake.
Incident Details (if applicable):
Public Information Officer, Fire Captain Philip Hayes