Fireworks security and safety

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Sales at fireworks stands are up as people plan their own backyard shows. Big commercial shows were canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

People in the industry estimate sales at some fireworks stands are up as much as 300 percent, while the bottom has dropped out for commercial shows.

“I’ve heard some of the larger companies saying their business is 20 to 30 percent what it would normally be; so, 70 percent down,” said Rob Cima, vice president of the Missouri Pyrotechnics Association.

Cima’s organization knows a lot about fireworks, including the most dangerous ones that are usually very popular.

“The highest single firework that causes injury is sparklers…12 percent of injuries are from sparklers and 11 percent are from firecrackers,” he said.

Dr. John Peter, an ER emergency room physician at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, has cared for kids injured by fireworks for almost 30 years. He’s seen kids as young as toddlers hurt.

“In middle of fireworks going off, (kids) get excited, they grab a firework. It may be a sparkler but it burns them badly or they pick up large firecrackers and they blow up in their hands,” Peter said.

Usually, the safest way to view pyrotechnics are professional shows. The Village of Innsbrook will host Sky Wars: A Light and Sound Explosion on September 26, where people can see competitive displays showcasing the latest technology in fireworks.

“It’s one of the only fireworks competitions in the United States,” Cima said. “It is two hours of fireworks. We bring up to 10 groups from around the country.”

And each year, the crowd-pleaser is a huge fireball of fireworks and 650 gallons of gasoline.

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