U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers firework safety tips

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Jake Hibbert and Connor Ostler stand in the shade of the fireworks stand. They are running the TNT Fireworks stand located in Provo during the days leading up to July 4. (Emma Butler)

Fireworks caused 11 deaths and 10,200 emergency room visits in the year 2022, with 73% of injuries occurring during the one-month period surrounding the Fourth of July, according to a report by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The CPSC is urging consumers to exercise caution when using fireworks this summer. According to the CPSC, most firework-related injuries and deaths are preventable.

South Jordan residents Jake Hibbert and Connor Ostler work at the TNT Fireworks stand in Provo, located in the Sam’s Club parking lot near University Avenue. TNT Fireworks is a warehouse in South Jordan that sets up a stand in Provo during the weeks leading up to July 4.

Ostler said that one of the most common ways that firework accidents occur is when they tip over after being lit. This is especially prone to happen with taller fireworks, according to Hibbert, and can be avoided by securing the base of the firework with bricks before lighting it.

May be an image of mountain and text that says 'DISCHARGED FIREWORKS ONLY'
A firework disposal dumpster set up in a parking lot in Provo. Using designated dumpsters reduces the risk of fires. (Provo Fire & Rescue Facebook page)

Ostler said that people should never hold fireworks that aren’t meant to be held.

“If you hold a firecracker for too long before you throw it, it’ll take off fingers,” Hibbert said.

Ostler said that another way you can avoid accidents is by properly disposing of used fireworks.

The Provo Fire and Rescue posted on Facebook about designated dumpsters for this purpose. They asked that the public use them when disposing of used fireworks.

Fireworks safety tips, according to CPSC

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers — sparklers burn at temperatures of approximately 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly
  • Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before using or buying them

Last year’s annual fireworks report stated that 43% of fireworks selected and tested by the CPSC contained illegal components, including types of fuses not in compliance with the law, prohibited chemicals and “pyrotechnic materials overload.”

According to the report, this percentage of noncompliant products determined to be volatile is significantly higher than previous years.

In a statement, CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric urged people to only use fireworks labeled for consumer use and to avoid products that may contain illegal materials, as those products are more likely to cause injury.

The 2022 annual fireworks report data showed that five of the 11 deaths were a result of firework misuse, three were associated with device malfunction and one death was the result of a firework tipping over. The circumstances of the last two are unknown. The victims ranged from ages 11 to 43, according to the data. 

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