National health and safety advocates warn against consumer fireworks

Published on June 30, 2011

Problems with fireworks
This demonstration shows one example of what could go wrong when playing with consumer fireworks.
Stephen Coan and Jim Shannon
NFPA President Jim Shannon and Massachusetts Fire Marshal Stephen Coan urge people to leave fireworks to the professionals.

June 30, 2011  – Citing the fact that there are more fires reported on a typical Fourth of July than any other day of the year, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) President James M. Shannon and its Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks joined today with the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal’s office to give a national warning against the use of consumer fireworks.

 “Ask any staff in an emergency room or in a fire department during this holiday and they will tell you that the numbers tell a sad story — there is no safe way to use consumer fireworks. Our goal is simple — prevent injuries and fires.” Shannon and a host of other speakers urged the public to attend public fireworks displays put on by trained professionals.


According to a newly released NFPA report, in 2009 fireworks caused an estimated 18,000 reported fires, including 1,300 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outdoor and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated $38 million in direct property damage.

“Parents underestimate how dangerous fireworks can be. Fireworks send 3,400 children under 15 to emergency rooms each year in the U.S. and nearly half of fireworks victims are under the age of 20,” said Dr. Amy Rezak, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Division of Trauma in Boston. “Even seemingly harmless fireworks like sparklers result in serious burn injuries and account for one-third of the injuries to children under five,” she added. Fire officials say that sparklers burn at about 1200 degrees.

NFPA is the coordinator and co-founder of the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks, a national group of health and safety organizations that have joined together to take a stand against the use of consumer fireworks.

A number of videos, audio interviews, statistics, safety tips and materials are available at

About the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks
NFPA along with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), founded the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks to warn individuals about the dangers of consumer fireworks. Other members include American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, Center for Injury Research & Policy, Emergency Nurses Association, Fire Department Safety Officers Association, International Association of Arson Investigators, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Fighters, International Fire Marshals Association, Metropolitan Fire Chiefs, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, National Association of School Nurses, National Association of State Fire Marshals, and Prevent Blindness America.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

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Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275