Every Fourth of July, more fires are reported nationwide than on any other day of the year, with 50% of those fires being fireworks-related. Homes, wooded & grassy areas, and even automobiles have become engulfed in flames because of fireworks. On the Fourth of July over the past three years, the San Francisco Fire Department has responded to 53 fireworks-related grass fires, in addition to multiple structure fires that were also caused by fireworks. Most commonly the fires are caused by bottle rocket-type fireworks, where the rockets can land in dry vegetation, on rooftops, or wedge within structures, and still retain enough heat to cause a fire.
In recent years, fireworks have been one of the leading causes of serious injuries that require emergency treatment in a hospital ER. Fireworks can cause severe burns, fractures or scars, and can even result in death or life-long disfigurement. The thousands of serious injuries that occur each year typically involve damage to the eyes, head or hands, with the risk of fireworks-related injuries highest for children 5 - 14. Even though novelty fireworks, such as fountains and sparklers, are generally considered to be "safe", they can reach temperatures of more than 1,000° F, and account for 36% of all emergency room fireworks-related injuries.
There ARE safer alternatives to using fireworks on the Fourth of July. Public fireworks displays can be the safest and smartest, and even most economical, fireworks alternative. The San Francisco Bay Area hosts several free public fireworks displays every Fourth of July. Check the following listing for Public Fireworks Display locations and times: http://sf.funcheap.com/2010-fireworks-4th-july-events-guide-san-francisco-bay-area/
For more information about fireworks facts, safety tips, and federal & state fireworks laws, please explore the links below.
The San Francisco Fire Department wishes you a Safe and Happy Fourth!
Fireworks Fact Sheet
Fireworks Safety Tips
California Fireworks Laws
Federally Banned Fireworks