CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is encouraging residents to practice lifesaving safety precautions when handling fireworks so they can protect themselves and their children during Fourth of July festivities.
While fireworks are a source of fun and fellowship, they can also cause serious injury and death if not used properly, SC DHEC warned residents.
“Preventable injuries and deaths occur each year due to the mishandling of fireworks,” Dr. Virginie Daguise, Bureau Director of DHEC’s Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, said. “We don’t want to see families’ lives changed forever because moments that were supposed to be full of fun went terribly wrong. We urge South Carolinians to exercise caution and stay safe while enjoying the Fourth.”
A 2021 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows that injuries related to fireworks increased by 25% between 2006 and 2021, DHEC said. The report also shows nine deaths and 11,500 emergency room-treated injuries occurred in 2021. About 8,500, or 74% of the injuries, occurred in the one-month span surrounding July 4. About 3,680, or 32 percent of the visits, were due to burns.
Injuries last year were most common among young adults ages 20 to 24. About 1,500 of the injuries that resulted in a trip to the emergency room involved firecrackers and 1,100 involved sparklers.
The CPSC offers tips on how to stay safe when using fireworks:
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase and set off fireworks labeled for consumer (not professional) use
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishaps
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move quickly away from the fireworks device
- Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away
- Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone
- After fireworks have stopped burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water
- Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs
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