GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Now that persistent rainfall has moved out of West Michigan, many people are probably excited to light of fireworks this holiday weekend. With the increase of death and injuries from fireworks, the Grand Rapids Fire Department is encouraging families to use extreme caution while handling fireworks this Independence Day.
There's been a 50% increase in deaths and injuries from firework-related incidents in 2020 compared to the year before, according to the U.S. Product Safety Commission.
At least 18 people died from firework injuries last year, with more than 15,000 people being treated for firework injuries in hospitals. Firecrackers were the biggest source of emergency room treated injuries, with sparklers coming in second. Believe it or not, sparklers have the capability of burning up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Grand Rapids Fire Department urges parents to keep fireworks out of the hands of children. Since fireworks, firecrackers, and sparklers can produce possibly life-threatening burns, the fire department wants to remind parents to make sure an adult is around any time fireworks are being set off.
Lt. William E. Smith, Fire Prevention Inspector, Public Information Officer from the Grand Rapids Fire Department says, "Children primarily are susceptible to burn injuries because of their size. And when an adult receives a burn, usually, we're looking at something on the hand or maybe in the face, but a child because of their size. If their clothing catches that can be actually fatal."
When it comes to firework injuries, burns are the most common. The parts of the body injured most often are the hands and fingers.
With the amount of rainfall that West Michigan has received recently, the region is slowly creeping out of the moderate drought zone. However, West Michigan is still considered dry for this time of year.
If you plan to light off fireworks this year, please be mindful of dry leaves or other flammable materials.
Conditions are expected to be dry this weekend for July 4th. Stay tuned with the FOX 17 weather team for all updates.