WASHINGTON, D.C. - An estimated 23,200 fireworks fires in 2002 caused
approximately $35 million in property loss and almost 60 percent of those
fires occurred during the month of July around the Independence Day holiday,
according to a new report from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Children under age 15 suffered 45
percent of the 9,300 injuries from fireworks. Firecrackers, sparklers and
bottle rockets are the leading contributors to these injuries.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency
Preparedness and Response and head of FEMA, which includes the U.S. Fire
Administration, said the new study reminds Americans "that consumer
fireworks are indeed dangerous."
"Fireworks account for a large number of preventable fires and injuries,"
Brown said. "We're not trying to take the fun out of Independence Day
celebrations but parents must use extreme caution in assuring that children
are properly supervised in the safe handling of legal fireworks."
The report, The Dangers of Fireworks, was developed by the National Fire
Data Center, part of FEMA's U.S. Fire Administration, and is based on data
from the 2002 National Fire Incident Reporting System, the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, and the National Fire Protection Association. The report
summarizes some of the characteristics of fireworks fires, with an emphasis
on the dangers and injuries that are associated with fireworks.
"Fireworks are especially injurious to children - even those that are
considered relatively safe like sparklers and firecrackers," said U.S. Fire
Administrator R. David Paulison. "The safest way to enjoy Fourth of July
celebrations is by attending public fireworks displays conducted by
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and
recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates
mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local
emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.