Firework sales expected to surge amid COVID-19 event cancellations, officials warn safety

 

(WLNS)– With many 4th of July events canceled in Mid-Michigan amid COVID-19 concerns, officials expect more people will light off their own fireworks.

Meggan Andrews, a Store Manager at Phantom Fireworks in Lansing said they’re already seeing huge increases in sales.

“There’s been more people than what we expected, especially just opening up for one week,” Andrews said.

She added that on their opening day, they sold more than $1,000 worth of fireworks. Andrews said a lot of customers have come in, trying to find alternative plans for the holiday.

“A lot of them have said oh my hometown’s not doing fireworks. For hundreds of years, they had been doing fireworks and now they’re canceled, so now they want to do their own and do it for the community,” Andrews said.

“This year especially with the public displays being canceled, with people being at home with COVID-19, there’s a different sense of urgency in people’s minds… not necessarily that it’s a safe urgency, but they want to get out, they want to spend time with family and friends and we understand that, but safety needs to be at the paramount,” Lt. Michael McLeieer, Past President of the Michigan State Firemen’s Association said.

McLeieer said two out of every five structure fires on the 4th of July or around the holiday are caused by fireworks.

In addition, the latest national data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), shows U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks related injuries in 2017. More than a third of those injuries were children under the age of 15.

That’s why McLeieer said if people do choose to light off fireworks, they should always supervise small children, keep pets inside, and have a metal bucket with water nearby. He added it’s not just the big fireworks you should be careful with.

“There are no truly safe fireworks. Handheld sparklers can burn at least to 1200 sometimes as much as 2000 degrees and they can cause 3rd-degree burns within a matter of 2-3 seconds,” McLeieer said.

He added that Michigan’s fireworks laws have been changed, but local ordinances have a lot more jurisdiction and authority.

“Know when you can use fireworks, know when they’re not allowed,” McLeieer advised.

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