Summer in Eastern New York is a pleasant and beautiful time of the year. Whether you’re heading out to the beach, camping, attending a community festival, or watching a sports event, it’s important to always stay safe!  At the American Red Cross, we want everyone to enjoy the season, so check back with us weekly for safety tips you can follow all summer long.

For part 3 of our Summer Safety Series — just in time for the Fourth of July — we’re focusing on fireworks safety tips!

Fireworks are a big part of our tradition when it comes to celebrating Independence Day! Yet the excitement of the booming displays and bright bursts of colors can also bring pain and damage. The numbers serve as a clear warning: fireworks can be dangerous, and safety experts urge caution when using fireworks for a reason. Each Fourth of July in the U.S., thousands of people – mostly children and teens – end up in the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently released its annual report on fireworks injuries. Researchers found that in 2018, five people were killed and more than 9,000 were injured in fireworks-related incidents, the majority in a 30-day period around July 4.

The study also found:

  • Fireworks caused some 9,100 injuries ranging from cuts and scrapes to permanent disfigurement.
  • On average, 180 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.

Staying safe around fireworks should be a high priority on your summer checklist. Watching a public display put on by professionals is the safest way to enjoy fireworks at any time of year. Stay at least 500 feet away from an ongoing fireworks show, and leave any area where untrained amateurs are using fireworks immediately.

There is no such thing as completely safe fireworks at home. But there are ways to keep you and your family safe during a fireworks celebration. If you are setting fireworks off yourself, follow these safety tips from the Red Cross:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.

For more information, check out these additional warnings from the National Safety Council and the National Fire Protection Association. We also recommend getting familiar with the fireworks laws in your community. Residents of New York State can start here to learn more.

From all of us at the American Red Cross, we wish you and your family a very happy and safe Fourth of July and a great rest of the summer!