Fireworks Injuries by Firework Type - 2003 to 2017

2019 Week 27 Dataset

Posted by David Velleca on July 2, 2019

Historical Background

Over the last month or so, tents have been popping up around town. That could only mean one of two things - either the circus is in town, or it's fireworks season. Finally, this weekend, the walls came down, and inside the tents, you can see box upon box of brightly colored novelties that exist to be blown up for our fascination. For the next two weeks or so, the evening will be punctuated with the sound of mortars, bottle rockets and firecrackers.

Fireworks as we know them originate in China, tracing their roots all the way back to some time between the seventh and tenth centuries, when bamboo shoots (that had been used as primitive pyrotechnics since the second century BCE) were filled with mixtures of gunpowder, metal shavings and other chemicals. So, by the time fireworks made their debut as part of our Independence Day celebrations, they had been around for quite some time. Let's focus on the history of fireworks in America, though.

The first Fourth of July celebration occurred on July 4, 1777, while the infant United States was still engaged in the Revolutionary War with the British. On the evening of the fourth in Philadelphia, a fireworks display capped off a day of celebration that had included a parade, musical celebrations, the decoration of ships in the harbor in red, white & blue and the firing of cannons - one shot for each state in the Union. Over time, the celebrations would become more refined, with fireworks nearly completely replacing the cannon shots. Regardless, the foundation for the traditional celebration of Independence Day was set.

Fireworks are indelibly linked with the Fourth, but their magnificence and grandeur have made their use more mainstream. From concerts, to Walt Disney World, to the Super Bowl, to baseball stadiums in celebration of a home run, fireworks have become a major industry in the United States. This week, we're looking at data on injuries tied to each type of fireworks device. This should be a fun, very simple dataset to visualize, and I think some of the data insights might be a bit surprising.

We'd really love to see what you can do with this week's dataset! Download the data and see what you can visualize. Create your viz and post your work to Tableau Public and Twitter with the hashtag #ThrowbackDataThursday, tagging @TThrowbackThurs. We're really looking forward to seeing what the Tableau Community can come up with!

Data Source

This week's data comes from The Consumer Products Safety Commission. Please be sure to cite this source on your viz.

Estimated injuries calculated using the percentage of injuries attributed to each fireworks device type multiplied by the total estimated injuries for the year.