State fire marshal: Fireworks best left to professionals

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, July 3, 2019

RALEIGH — Independence Day is best spent with family, food and fireworks. However, if fireworks are not handled properly, celebrations could end with a trip to the hospital. Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey is warning North Carolinians about the dangers of fireworks as they celebrate the upcoming July Fourth weekend.

“Fireworks are not toys,” said Causey. “They are a great tradition on the Fourth of July, but they should only be handled by professionals,” he said. “I want all North Carolinians to enjoy a safe holiday weekend by leaving all fireworks — even those legal in North Carolina — to those properly trained.”

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), at least five fireworks-related deaths were reported in 2018 — all associated with reloadable aerial devices.

There were an estimated 9,100 fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries in 2018, with 62 percent of them occurring during the month surrounding the Fourth of July (June 22-July 22). During that period, firecrackers were the number one cause of injuries, accounting for 19 percent of the estimated injuries. For children under 5 years of age, sparklers accounted for more than half of the total estimated injuries.

A simple, handheld sparkler can burn at a temperature of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. To put that into perspective, water boils at 212 degrees, a cake bakes at 350 degrees and wood burns at 575 degrees.

The best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, Causey urges all North Carolinians to attend public fireworks displays performed by trained professionals licensed by the state.

After the display, do not pick up or touch leftover fireworks because they may still be active.

If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital.  If an eye injury occurs, don’t allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.