CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Did you know fireworks cause an estimated 18,500 reported fires in the U.S. each year?
Not only that, fireworks are responsible for thousands of injuries.
U.S. hospital emergency rooms saw an estimated 10,500 people for fireworks-related injuries in 2014.
They can cause devastating burns, other injuries, fires, even death.
The Cape Girardeau Fire Department helped KFVS12 demonstrate the dangers.
First up: sparklers.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers account for more than one quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries.
The danger is increased for kids.
Turns out, children aged 5 to 9 are more than twice as likely as other age groups to be injured by fireworks.
"We're safe all year round and then we teach our kids about fire safety, don't do this, don't do that," Captain John Ryan with the Cape Girardeau Fire Department said. "And then we give them something that can catch everything on fire to run around with and our clothing can catch fire very easily."
Next: watermelon explosion.
A watermelon turns to pieces when you you detonate a firework near it.
Can you imagine the damage it could cause to your body if you were holding it?
Ryan says this happens more than you think.
"Every year we see burns, someones holding fireworks and their fingers get blown off," Ryan said.
Be alert when you are setting off fireworks that shoot in the air.
Ryan says fireworks typically don't go where you want them too, which can lead to disaster.
"They can go to the left, to the right, under the cars in the bushes on top of the house where people are all standing watching it," Ryan said. "So they're very dangerous."
They can also lead to fires.
"Every year we have houses that catch on fire because of these aero rockets," Ryan said. "They get on the roof and they catch fire. And several years ago one of the volunteer firefighters in Jackson his house caught on fire not because he was lighting fireworks but because of kids in the neighborhood."
Lastly, don't put your fireworks in a trash can after you are done.
Ryan says fireworks will stay hot, long after they go out. They can also re-ignite.
The best practice is to put them in a bucket of water after you are done.
As a reminder, here are the dos and don'ts for setting off fireworks.
- Always have an alert adult supervise fireworks activities.
- Even sparklers burn at temperatures of 1,200 degrees or more – hot enough to melt some metals.
- Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks. Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
Cape Girardeau firefighters say you can leave the hard work to the professionals and go to a city fireworks display.