Leave it to the professionals: State Fire Marshal Mike Causey urges 4th of July safety

In recognition of Fireworks Safety Awareness Week (June 28-July 4), Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey urges North Carolinians to stay safe when celebrating Independence Day by avoiding the use of fireworks. Fireworks are a traditional part of America’s 4th of July celebration, but if not handled properly, celebrations could end with a trip to the hospital.

“Fireworks go hand-in-hand with 4th of July celebrations, but they should only be handled by professionals because they’re so dangerous,” said Commissioner Causey.  “Even the smaller, consumer grade fireworks like sparklers and firecrackers can start fires and cause serious burn injuries. Our message is simple — leave the fireworks to the professionals.”


A simple, handheld sparkler can burn at a temperature of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. To put that into perspective, water boils at 212 degrees, a cake bakes at 350 degrees and wood burns at 575 degrees.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), at least 12 fireworks-related deaths were reported in 2019 (the last year that statistics were made available).

There were an estimated 10,000 fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries in 2019, with 73% of them occurring during the month surrounding the Fourth of July (June 22-July 22). During that period, children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 36% of the estimated fireworks-related injuries.

The best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, Commissioner Causey urges all North Carolinians to attend public fireworks displays performed by trained professionals licensed by the state. For a list of public fireworks shows in the Research Triangle area, click here.

After the display, do not pick up or touch leftover fireworks because they may still be active.

If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital.  If an eye injury occurs, don’t allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.

To learn more about the risks of using fireworks, visit our website.

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.