SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend, the New Mexico Department of Health is urging New Mexicans to celebrate safely and to use extreme caution with fireworks. The department reports its most recent data indicates in 2019 there were 21 visits to New Mexico’s emergency department due to discharge of fireworks between June 21 and July 21 in 2019.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about 10,000 fireworks-related injuries were treated in emergency rooms nationwide in 2019. Of these firework related injuries, about 73% occurred during the same June 21 to July 21 period.
The CPSC found that nationally nearly half of the fireworks-related injuries were to people who younger than 20 years old. The commission states that in 2019, nationally, 66% of the firework-related injuries happened among males.
NMDOH states that sparklers are the number one cause of firework-related injuries and are estimated to cause over 900 injuries every year. The department says that half of the reported sparkler-related injuries involved children who were younger than five years old.
NMDOH and the CPSC recommends the following for New Mexicans who decide to purchase legal fireworks:
- Ensure fireworks are legal in your area and only purchase fireworks that are labeled for consumer, not professional use.
- Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy. Make sure to always douse spend fireworks with plenty of water before discarding them to prevent a trash fire.
- Never attempt to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit which is enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a firework device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after igniting.
- Never point or throw fireworks at anyone.
- Light fireworks one at a time and move away quickly.