UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

Fourth of July fireworks: Diving into the dangers of the time-honored American event

Morgan Jeremy, Police Reporter

Every year, countless people gather together on July fourth to celebrate American independence with parties, cookouts, and spectacular firework displays. However, these displays are notorious for causing injuries and deaths nationwide as well as negatively impacting the environment, pets, and more.

One of the most significant losses this year was Mattis Kivlenieks, an NHL goaltender of the Columbus Blue Jackets who died in a fireworks-related incident while at his coach’s house.

“We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Matiss Kivlenieks,” said Columbus Blue Jackets President in a statement to CNN. “Kivi was an outstanding young man who greeted every day and everyone with a smile and the impact he had during his four years with our organization will not be forgotten.”

According to the New York Times, deaths by fireworks or by fireworks-related injuries have been steadily increasing since 2008. 

Image courtesy of Forbes and Statista.

A recent statistic from Forbes revealed that an estimated 15,600 people required emergency room treatment in U.S. hospitals due to accidents involving fireworks in 2020, an increase from approximately 10,000 in 2019.

Captain Eric Prosswimmer of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said that the department responds to many fireworks-related calls every year, especially around Independence Day and New Year’s. 

“There are clearly issues we see with hand injuries and other burns resulting from firework use,” said Captain Prosswimmer. 

Additionally, firework displays continue to cause controversy every year due to their impact on our nation’s carbon footprint. 

According to GrrlScientist, an evolutionary ecologist and writer for Forbes, when a firework is lit, the heavy metals inside it undergo a physical change while the metal salts and explosives undergo a chemical change combusting when combining with oxygen. This chemical reaction then produces smoke and gases like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen, some of the primary greenhouse gases responsible for climate change.

To make matter worse, these metal particles do not get incinerated by the blast and instead convert into poisonous aerosols which when inhaled or ingested, can cause a variety of side effects including vomiting, diarrhea, asthma attacks, kidney disease, cardiotoxic effects, and even a variety of cancers.

As well as affecting the environment, fireworks are often criticized for their effects on household pets who are frightened by the loud blasts. Many animals like dogs and cats have sensitive ears and the loud firework explosions contribute to anxiety and even hearing loss. 

Fortunately, according to NPR, there are many things that pet owners can do to comfort their pets including keeping them indoors, playing soft music or white noise, and creating safe spaces for them to hide. 

Despite the multitude of concerns revolving around firework displays, because they are so beloved by the majority of the public and have become such a fixture of American culture, it is unlikely that they will be going away soon. Therefore, it is extremely important for individuals to be cognizant of the dangers of fireworks so that they can keep themselves and others safe. 


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

About the Contributor
Navigate Left
  • UNF logo


    Updated: UNF releases urgent alert of arson on campus

  • Photo by Ramiro Martinez via Unsplash


    Longest partial lunar eclipse of the century to happen tonight

  • Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine booster dose. Photo by Parang Mehta/Unsplash.

    Covid-19 Shared stories

    COVID-19 booster shots and what to know

  • A tomb guard of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as The Old Guard, stands during a centennial commemoration event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Arlington National Cemetery, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)


    AP: Biden salutes troops as ‘spine of America’ on Veterans Day

  • UNF logo


    “A small-town mayor”: students give their thoughts on their ideal UNF president

  • SDS releases list of demands, UNF responds


    SDS releases list of demands, UNF responds

  • Student Union. Photo credit Jonathan Merin.


    UNF Presidential Search Committee hosting student open forum Wednesday

  • SG - Student Government


    Student Government swears in 17 new senators

  • Delegates gather inside the venue on another day at the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. The U.N. climate summit in Glasgow gathers leaders from around the world, in Scotlands biggest city, to lay out their vision for addressing the common challenge of global warming. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)


    Warmer seasons to come, UNF professor explains

  • In this Aug. 25, 2020, file photo, Kyle Rittenhouse carries a weapon as he walks along Sheridan Road in Kenosha, Wis., during a night of unrest following the weekend police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse is white. So were the three men he shot during street protests in Kenosha in 2020. But for many people, Rittenhouses trial will be watched closely as the latest referendum on race and the American judicial system. (Adam Rogan/The Journal Times via AP, File)


    Prosecutor says Rittenhouse instigated Kenosha bloodshed

Navigate Right

Comments (0)

Spinnaker intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, slurs, defamation, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and will be removed if they do not adhere to these standards. Spinnaker does not allow anonymous comments, and Spinnaker requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All UNF Spinnaker Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *