Fireworks Accident and Injury Statistics

Fireworks can be the most dangerous explosives and are best handled by trained professionals. It is hard to imagine the Fourth of July without fireworks. More people ignite simple or homemade fireworks each year than attend large-scale fireworks displays.

But simple fireworks such as bottle rockets and sparklers are the most dangerous manufactured explosives. And M80 and M100 cherry bombs the most dangerous type of fireworks. According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 7,000 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in 1998. This number was down from an estimated 8,300 in 1997.

But The National Council on Fireworks Safety says that each year there are over 100 injuries reported to the NEISS reporting hospitals. Based on these actual injuries, the CPSC produces an estimate of injuries on a national basis. The estimate for calendar year 2006 was approximately 9,200 injuries. Bottle Rockets Bottle rockets can reach speeds up to 200 miles per hour; are a significant fire hazard; and are susceptible to ricochet which means they can end up traveling in any direction.

If they land on combustible materials or dry brush a fire can start very quickly. When a bottle rocket detonates, the casing can burn for a few seconds or a few minutes. A few seconds are all that is needed to start a fire. Sparklers Sparklers present a silent danger.

Sparklers do not blow up and they do not have trajectory but they do get very hot. A typical sparkler can burn at temperatures up to 1,800 degrees. Such temperatures can quickly start fires and at close range can burn skin and eyes.

Cherry Bombs The destructive power of cherry bombs makes them particularly dangerous. The M80 and M100 cherry bombs are illegal in many states, and for good reason. Sixteen M80s or eight M100s detonated together can be equivalent to a stick of commercial grade dynamite.

The same general principles that apply to commercial and military explosives apply to fireworks. The explosive power of these fireworks can be doubled when they are compressed or contained. Homemade and Illegal Fireworks According to the CPSC, over the past 10 years, illegal explosives or homemade fireworks have typically caused 33% of the injuries associated with fireworks. Illegal explosives have been outlawed by federal law since 1966. The laws against these dangerous devices are enforced by the U.S.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF), possessing these types of explosives can result in being federally prosecuted with substantial monetary penalties and jail time attached to a conviction. The illegal explosives are easy to recognize because they have a primitive appearance and have no labeling or warnings on them. As the Fourth of July approaches, do not become another statistic.

Christopher M. Davis is the managing partner of Davis Law Group. He brings over 15 years of practical yet innovative experience to personal injury cases. He practices law in Seattle, WA. You can learn more about Mr. Davis at or

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