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Fast Facts: Be Safe Around Fireworks

Few things say “Fourth of July” like watching a fireworks show. For many across the country it’s the traditional mark of the celebrated holiday. Americans love fireworks so much that in 2018, American Pyrotechnics Association recorded over $945 million worth of fireworks were purchased for consumer use (APA, 2018). Trends of consumer and display firework purchases has increased every year since 1998 (see Figure 1).


With that increasing number of purchased fireworks comes an increased rate of emergency department (ED) visits each year due to injuries. These rates then lead to changes in health care costs for the price of visits. For Wisconsin in 2019, the sum of total ED visit charges for fireworks-related injuries was just under $204,000.

The trend of fireworks injuries follows a pattern most would expect – around Quarter 3 (June, July, August) there is a surge in ED visits. Our data shows, however, that unlike many states who experience an increase in ED visits around New Year’s Eve (Q1), Wisconsin has few cases at that time (see Figure 2).

When looking at fireworks-related visits broken down into age groups, those aged 20 and younger account for almost 40 percent of all ED visits (see Figure 3).

With the Fourth of July holiday upcoming, it is always good to revisit prevention measures to take when handling fireworks. Here are some of the top safety tips from the National Safety Council and KidsHealth to remember.

  • Never let young children handle fireworks; older children should only under adult supervision
  • Never use fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Never hold a lit firework in your hand
  • Never light fireworks indoor
  • Never point fireworks at another person
  • Soak used and unused fireworks in water before throwing away
  • Do not try to relight malfunctioning fireworks
  • Wear protective eye wear when using or standing near fireworks
  • Do not buy fireworks packaged in brown paper – these are meant to be handled by professionals
  • Keep pets inside