Phantom Fireworks Exec Warns of Viral Videos

By William A. Weimer, vice president, Phantom Fireworks

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Fireworks are as American as baseball, hotdogs and apple pie. But this American tradition is under siege by some who falsely argue they are overly dangerous.

We have seen increased rhetoric surrounding fireworks being labeled as “too dangerous” for consumer use. Granted, we have seen a few high-profile injuries over the past year involving celebrities but that does not change the data, which shows fireworks injuries actually decreasing year after year when you consider consumption.

Here are the facts: consumer fireworks injuries are actually declining and 47 states allow some level of fireworks use to take advantage of the tax revenue they generate. Fireworks-related injuries have dropped dramatically over recent years, according to data published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. From 1994 to 2015, the use of fireworks in America has increased over 143% from 117 million pounds to 285.3 million pounds in 2015.  At the same time, the fireworks-related injuries based on injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks used has dropped over 60% from 10.7 in 1994 to 4.2 in 2015.The vast majority of fireworks-related injuries stem from misuse and abuse.

This year, one particularly disturbing trend the industry is battling among our youth is using fireworks to make viral videos. It’s a trend that we fear can have dangerous, even deadly, consequences. Just like texting and driving, viral videos and fireworks do not mix. There is an insatiable appetite among our youth to be the next YouTube sensation and we must raise awareness that using fireworks to get there isn’t worth the risks to life and limb.

We need parents to help us put a stop to using fireworks in viral videos by encouraging safety and by explaining the improper use of fireworks can produce serious injuries or even death. We are providing safety information in an effort to promote the responsible use of fireworks and to put a stop to unsafe viral fireworks videos.

Please follow the tips below to ensure a safe and fun Fourth of July holiday.

  • Before purchasing fireworks, check your community’s regulations regarding consumer fireworks use.
  • Purchase fireworks or an accredited and licensed company to insure you are purchasing legal fireworks.  Always read and follow the directions on the label.
  • After purchasing fireworks, always store them in a cool, dry place.
  • Always have an adult present when handling fireworks. Never give fireworks to young children, even sparklers!
  • Determine a safe location for use in an open area with a connected hose, bucket of water, or other water source nearby.
  • Keep everyone a safe distance away from fireworks.
  • Light only one firework at a time.

Never re-ignite a firework that doesn’t light the first time or one that has finished its display.

  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Don’t throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep pets indoors and away from fireworks.
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • Always wear safety glasses when igniting fireworks.
  • Be thoughtful to those among us – such as military service men and women and even pets and other animals – that may have sensitivities to the loud noises fireworks can generate.

Nothing is better than celebrating our nation’s independence, except doing that with fireworks! We encourage everyone to follow these safety guidelines as they enjoy this great American tradition.

Submitted by William A. Weimer, vice president of Phantom Fireworks, Warren.  Weimer is the President of the American Pyrotechnics Association and formerly was a long-time member of the National Fireworks Protection Association Technical Committee on Fireworks.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.