The Fourth of July may feel a little different this year due to COVID-19. Smaller barbecues, less parties and limited celebrations filled with displayed fireworks. Allthough sparklers and similar items can be bought and sold in much of New York State, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) urges residents to let professionals handle the fireworks.

FASNY reminds New Yorkers that although sparklers may look harmless, and almost toy-like, they are incredibly harmful and can cause serious injury and fires. “Fireworks and sparkling devices are extremely dangerous in the hands of non-professionals,” said FASNY President Steven Klein. “Although they seem fun, fireworks and sparkling devices can cause serious bodily harm and even death. Fireworks should only be used by professionals who have undergone proper training.”

The tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause severe 3rd degree burns. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), sparklers cause roughly 25 percent of all fireworks-related emergency room visits, the most of any type of fireworks device. A 2019 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that in 2018, fireworks were involved in an estimated 9,100 injuries. Between June and July of 2018, emergency rooms treated 5,600 patients for firework related injuries. Children under the age of 15 accounted for 36 percent of these injuries. According to the report, forty-four percent of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns, with the most common injury to hands, fingers, and arms.

“Rather than take the risk of getting hurt, FASNY is urging New Yorkers to either attend a fireworks display in their town or county -- while maintaining proper protocols -- or to watch one of the professional shows that will be televised or live-streamed,” said President Klein.

“On behalf of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, and all of the dedicated firefighters who serve the Empire State, we wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe Fourth of July,” said President Klein, “And should there be an emergency or unsafe situation, we urge everyone to call 911. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”