Last year, more than 7,000 people reported injuries related to fireworks around the Fourth of July period, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. And this year, sales are way up.
“They’re not toys and so oftentimes we see hands and fingers blown off because people aren’t respecting the device they’re working with,” said Dana Baiocco, commissioner of the US CPSC.
“We don’t give our children matches to play with nor do we give them candles, so you really shouldn’t give children fireworks,” Heckman said. “Let the adults handle the fireworks and let the children be the spectator.”
It’s also important to purchase your fireworks from a licensed vendor, according to Baiocco. She said that buying from licensed vendors means that the fireworks meet certain safety requirements.
“If you have the appropriate license in place, that will tell the purchaser that those fireworks presumably have been tested by a third party to make sure that they all comply with the federal and state safety standards and requirements,” Baiocco said.
Consumer firework sales have doubled or tripled in the past month for some retailers compared to last year’s numbers, according to Heckman. She said it’s mostly likely due to the pandemic.
“We still can’t go to the movie theater or any concerts or festivals,” Heckman said. “Fireworks are affordable family fun.”
John Sorgi, owner of American Fireworks, said his company has seen sales of consumer fireworks increase by 30% compared to this time last year. The fireworks company is headquartered in Ohio and has both brick-and-mortar stores and an online shopping website.
Sorgi said that due to mass cancellations of larger firework shows, many families are turning to consumer fireworks. He said he has seen such a spike in sales his company has had to stop selling products to wholesalers so they can preserve what they have for their own stores.
“The way fireworks works is it’s not like you can just run out to a supplier to buy more because they’re all coming from China,” Sorgi said.
His company places orders in July the year before and receives the product in November or December. This year, he wasn’t sure if he was going to receive his fireworks because China went into lockdown mode due to the coronavirus, according to Sorgi. Luckily, he said, they were eventually able to receive their orders.
Knowing the law
Ohio is one of the states where it’s legal to purchase fireworks but not set them off, Sorgi said. Years ago, he said customers had to fill out a form acknowledging this law when purchasing from his store, but now it’s just printed on all the receipts.
“It’s one of those weird industries where there’s just no federal regulations nationwide, it’s just really state-by-state,” Sorgi said.
“They need to contact their local authority having jurisdiction, which is usually the local fire departments,” Heckman said.
There are plenty of ways to celebrate Independence Day other than setting off a bunch of fireworks, even with social distancing. Here are a few of our favorites.
Bike ride: Deck out your bike in patriotic gear and take a bike ride around your block. This is a great way to use party decorations that would have otherwise gone unused this year. Other members of your household can join in on the fun and turn the bike ride into a mini parade around the neighborhood.
S’mores buffet line: Nothin’ says summer quite like gathering around the campfire and making gooey s’mores. After your grill out, set up an assembly-like buffet line of ingredients and take turns roasting marshmallows around the fire. You can stick to the basics or switch it up with different flavored chocolates or marshmallows.