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Fireworks can cause wildfires, serious injury, and death

This Fourth of July, celebrate safely with family and friends.

 As we celebrate the birth of our nation, many people will observe the Fourth of July Holiday by firing up the grill, cooling off at the beach, going camping, or spending quality time with their families and friends.

 If lighting fireworks is part of your plan, please reconsider.

 In addition to fireworks being illegal in most parts of Southern California, handling fireworks can be hazardous to your health. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there was a 50% increase in deaths and injuries from fireworks-related incidents in 2020 compared to 2019.

The Commission reports at least 18 people died from fireworks-related incidents in 2020, compared to 12 reported for the previous year. Additionally, about 15,600 people were treated in hospital emergency departments for fireworks injuries in 2020, compared to 10,000 people treated in 2019.

“Tragic deaths and injuries resulting from illegal handling of fireworks remind us of just how dangerous fireworks can be,” said Dr. Matthew P. Smith, an emergency medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “Watching and enjoying a professional firework show, like those held in many communities across Southern California, from a distance is a much better — and safer — option. I also strongly urge everyone to refrain from disassembling or trying to make their own fireworks.”

Fireworks can also start wildfires that have devastating effects on property and public land.

 If you plan to watch a professional fireworks display, remember to make sure your pets are safe. You may be tempted to bring your pet to a fireworks show, but it’s best if you don’t. Loud fireworks are often frightening to pets, and that can cause them to run away. That’s why it’s best to leave them at home in a quiet and safe space.

 Finally, don’t drink and drive, and avoid driving on this holiday as much as possible as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says the Fourth of July is the deadliest day of the year when it comes to vehicle crashes.

 On this festive holiday, celebrate our nation’s independence with friends and family, enjoy good food and company, and stay safe. You’ll be glad you