The annual demonstration held on the grounds of the Washington Monument by the Consumer Product Safety Commission showed the results of improper fireworks use. The commission also revealed that there was an increase in fireworks-related injuries and deaths in 2013.
There were eight deaths last year,up from six in 2012,and an estimated 11,400 injuries resulting from fireworks. In 2012,there were 8,700 fireworks-related injuries,according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission 2013 Fireworks Annual Report.
Acting Commission Chairman Bob Adler said the demonstrations weren’t just for show.
“They relate to actual incidents where kids and adults have been seriously injured or killed,” Adler said. “These are demonstrations we want to occur only in this controlled setting and not in someone’s backyard.”
Demonstrations included injuries resulting from bottle rockets and sparklers,as well as a death resulting from an explosive injury to the head.
With Independence Day next weekend,Adler said it’s especially important to spread awareness about the risks of using fireworks.
The American Pyrotechnics Association predicts fireworks sales will increase this year,considering revenues have climbed steadily from $600 million in 2006,to $662 million in 2013.
State and local legislation have relaxed consumer fireworks laws and lifted fireworks prohibitions since 2000. Adler said he thought this contributed to increased injuries and deaths last year.
Forty-six states,plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico,allow the sale and use of some types of consumer fireworks.
According to the CPSC,each of the eight fireworks-related deaths in 2013 was the result of banned,professional or home-manufactured devices.
“When it comes to the illegal explosives,M-80s,quarter sticks,cherry bombs – they’ve been federally banned since 1966 because they are so powerful and deadly,” Julie Heckman,American Pyrotechnics Association executive director,said. “No one should be using those or trying to make them at home.”
But Heckman said even a sparkler can be dangerous if it is mishandled.
Reach reporter Erin Bell at [email protected] or 202-326-9866. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.