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The most dangerous explosives.

Often, the question is asked, "out of all the different explosives -- homemade or manufactured -- which are the most dangerous?" It may surprise you to learn that according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 7,000 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in 1998. This is down from an estimated 8,300 in 1997. In general, this makes fireworks, such as bottle rockets and sparklers, the most dangerous manufactured explosives and the M80 and M100 cherry bombs the most dangerous homemade explosives.

The bottle rocket is dangerous for two very simple reasons. First, the rate of travel of a standard bottle rocket can reach speeds up to 200 miles per hour. Bottle rockets are very susceptible to ricochet and can end up traveling in any direction but the one intended. Second, the bottle rocket presents a significant fire hazard. When a bottle rocket detonates, the casing burns from a few seconds to a few minutes. A few seconds are all that is needed to start a fire, which is often the case. The sparkler is the silent danger. Sparklers do not blow up and they do not have trajectory What they do have is heat. A typical sparkler can burn at temperatures up to 1,800 degrees. At this temperature even gold melts so imagine the close range effects on your skin and eyes.

The M80 and M100 cherry bombs are illegal in many states. This is because of the amount of energetic material contained in these small packages. Typically, 16 M80s or eight M100s detonated together can equal a stick of commercial grade dynamite. The destructive power of these fireworks is very impressive. The same general principles that apply to commercial and military explosives apply to fireworks. The explosive power of these fireworks can be doubled when they are compressed or contained. Illegal fireworks continue to be a serious problem. According to the CPSC, over the past 10 years, illegal explosives or homemade fireworks have typically caused 33% of the injuries associated with fireworks. According to Air Force requirements, on- or off-duty Air Force personnel must not take part in the transportation, storage, set up or functioning of commercial fireworks for on-base fireworks displays. As the Fourth of July approaches, do not become another statistic. Fireworks can be the most dangerous explosives an d are best handled by trained professionals.

RELATED ARTICLE: Fireworks Accidents in the News

These common fireworks have been the primers in several accidents that have affected people from around the world as demonstrated in the following news stories from CNN:

1 Jan 99 - Investigators are trying to determine what caused a truck loaded with fireworks to explode during preparations for a New Year's Eve show killing two in New Orleans.

31 Dec 98 - Fireworks and other missiles exploded in the staging area for a New Year's Eve midnight celebration, killing two workmen and injuring a deputy sheriff.

12 Dec 98 - Six women and one man killed in fireworks explosion in Michigan.
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:fireworks accident statistics
Author:Bollman, J.C.
Publication:Combat Edge
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2001
Previous Article:Fireworks celebration dangers.
Next Article:Have a safe holiday season!. (Accent on Safety).

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