Mythbusters star concerned virus could fuel home fireworks injuries

The Associated Press
Created: June 30, 2020 03:49 PM

Cities are calling off their July 4th fireworks shows amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission realizes that many Americans will now choose to celebrate with their own backyard displays, so they brought in a notable explosives expert to hit home the best safety tips.

This year the CPSC is partnering with Adam Savage, a science communicator and special effects designer best known as the former co-host and producer of the Discovery Channel television hit "MythBusters."

"Look clearly everyone is bored out of their mind by the shelter in place. We've been hearing the fireworks here in San Francisco for at least a month," Savage said.

"A firework is effectively a controlled detonation and on Mythbusters we repeatdly were astounded by how quickly these chemical reactions could get way past you."

CPSC commissioner Dana Baiocco said nationwide sales of consumer fireworks have sharply risen in 2020, and she worries the number of injuries could also rise if people are not careful.

"We saw upwards of 10,000 reports last year from emergency rooms nationwide. Anything from you know burns to tragedies. We had 12 deaths last year," Baiocco said. "Now the deaths were some extreme circumstances that you would think people should know. But you shouldn't be shooting off any fireworks from the top of your head or from your chest. And certainly alcohol and fireworks do not mix."

For all of his explosive experiments, Savage said the MythBuster crew partnered with local bomb squads, and he suggests people take the extra step and think of the potential dangers and prepare for the worst.

"It's not about how epic is this going to be. It's 'Oh man is someone going to have to drive me to the emergency room?' or 'Am I going to spend the rest of my life with an eyepatch?'" Savage said.

One of the things that convinced Savage to join the CPSC public service annoucement was the agency's emphasis on safety while still allowing the families to enjoy lighting off their own fireworks.

"You can give a kid a knife if you teach them the rules: Point it away from you, never force, keep it sharp. As long as you do that you'll be okay," Savage said.

"Same thing here. Supervise the kids closely. Light things one at a time. That is a huge one. The law of unintended consequences won't apply if you're doing things one at a time. Keep a bucket of water handy."

CPSC also recommends to never point or throw fireworks at anyone, and to not handle or relight a malfunctioning firework. In order to prevent fires, douse the spent fireworks with water before throwing them in the trash.


The Associated Press

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