BOZEMAN – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that last year 12,900 people went to the Emergency Room last year and eight people were killed by fireworks.
"It absolutely can be dangerous and that is why we want to remind people to do things safely. We want you to have fun but we want you to be safe and enjoy the holiday,” said Bozeman Fire Chief Josh Waldo.
The shocking part? The number of injuries and deaths last year were not uncommon. The CPSC reported, “on average, 280 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday”. The commission says an average of 7.25 people died each year because of fireworks dating back to 2002.
These deaths prompted the CPSC to release a list of tips for staying safe for the 4 th of July. Keeping a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher or garden hose is just one of the ways to be prepared for a malfunction.
"Have that water readily available and like I said, if you have something that didn’t operate as you thought it would, give it time to cool off as you approach it and when you do get there make sure you drown it in water,” said Waldo.
If you or anyone you know do become injured by a firework the best thing to do is call 911. However, if you just want to report a noise complaint or illegal use of fireworks you should call a separate number.
"Especially during the holidays 911 takes a lot of calls, and if a neighbor is doing something they shouldn’t be doing with fireworks the non-emergency number is the most appropriate number to call, not 911,” said Bozeman Police Sergeant Hal Richardson.
Other tips for staying safe include: Read the instructions on the back of the packaging, never place any body parts over the firework when lighting the fuse, never point or throw fireworks at another person, and always supervise children during firework activities.
The type of firework that caused the most harm last year was sparklers, accounting for about 40% of all of the reported firework injuries.