ALLENTOWN, Pa. - An area nonprofit is teaming up with firefighters and partners across Pennsylvania to raise awareness of a recent spike in firework-related injuries.
Since consumer-grade fireworks were green lit in Pennsylvania in 2018, they've been exploding in popularity.
According to the American Burn Association, the sale of consumer-grade fireworks more than doubled between 2019 and 2020. At that same time, firework-related injuries have increased nearly 50 percent.
On Thursday, the Allentown Fire Department helped the Lehigh Valley-based nonprofit, Burn Prevention Network, launch its "Celebrate Safely, PA" campaign.
"With the rapid increase in consumer firework sales and use, it's vital that we work hard to increase firework safety awareness,” Julie Hackman, the Executive Director for the American Pyrotechnics Safety & Education Foundation, says.
"Celebrate Safely, PA" is a multifaceted campaign that helps to drive home important core safety messages. Like: never aim or throw fireworks at another person, keep a source of water nearby for emergencies, and use eye protection and safety gloves while lighting fireworks. It's also reminding people that only sober adults should handle fireworks - even sparklers, which can burn at more than 1800 degrees.
"Sparklers are the third leading cause of fireworks injuries and very, very often we hand a lit sparkler to a child; even a toddler to hold on to,” Dan Dillard, CEO of the Burn Prevention Network, says.
Last year alone, fireworks caused more than $125-million worth of property damage. It's illegal to set fireworks off inside, from a vehicle or within 150 feet of an occupied structure.
"Just because you can buy them doesn't necessarily mean you're able to use them in certain areas, especially in places like Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and Reading," Allentown Fire Department Capt. John Christopher says.