WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a fireworks safety event today on the National Mall, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Elliot F. Kaye unveiled a new public service announcement (PSA) featuring New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul suffered a severe hand injury on July 4, 2015, from a firework-related incident at his home. In the new PSA, Pierre-Paul and Chairman Kaye deliver a powerful message about the importance of children never handling fireworks, all consumers staying away from professional-grade fireworks and safely using consumer fireworks.
While Pierre-Paul was attempting to relight a firework, the device exploded in his hand before he could react. He lost an index finger and part of his thumb, and was required to have reconstructive surgery to save his middle finger. Since the tragic incident, Pierre-Paul has pledged to warn others about fireworks dangers. Because 70 percent of all injuries with fireworks occur during the 30 days surrounding July 4th, CPSC and Pierre-Paul are teaming up to get the message out before, during and after the holiday.
“Anyone doubting the danger fireworks can pose need only look at JPP’s hand and listen to his story,” said Chairman Kaye. “JPP’s personal experience and connection with fans and families nationwide will bring much needed attention to these dangers and, ultimately, help prevent deaths and injuries from fireworks. CPSC has new data indicating that there were 11 deaths and nearly 12,000 ER-treated injuries from fireworks in 2015–the highest number in 15 years. With more states relaxing their laws and allowing more types of fireworks to be purchased and used by consumers, we need to do more to prevent kids and adults from being rushed to the hospital like JPP experienced.”
In CPSC’s new fireworks report, 9 of the 11 deaths involved reloadable aerial devices, a professional grade fireworks device that can quickly result in tragedy, when used incorrectly. In 2015, the deadliest fireworks incidents most often involved males older than 20. Young adults between the ages of 15 and 19 accounted for the highest rate of injuries, followed by children 5 to 9 years of age. About 65 percent of all injuries involved burns from devices such as sparklers, bottle rockets and firecrackers.
Consumers who decide to purchase consumer fireworks are urged to follow these safety steps:
- Make sure consumer fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. (View Fact Sheet)
- Never use or make professional grade fireworks.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees°F─hot enough to melt some metals.
- Do not buy fireworks that are packaged in brown paper, which is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap.
- Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from them quickly.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.
Fireworks Information Center