Client Successes

REDUCING FIREWORKS INJURIES TO CHILDREN

Award-Winning Case Study of the National Council on Fireworks Safety

Challenge

When the Consumer Product Safety Commission was created in the early 1970s, one of its first targets was backyard (Class C) fireworks, which are traditionally sold from roadside stands in the weeks before July 4. Organizations representing fire chiefs, the blind and the public health community lobbied hard for a ban on this class of fireworks to prevent unnecessary fires and injuries. The American Pyrotechnics Association, representing manufacturers of these fireworks – mostly small family firms – asked John Adams Associates to help them manage this crisis, which would have destroyed their livelihoods.

Goals

  1. To reduce fireworks injuries to children while permitting continued use of “backyard” fireworks for July 4 celebrations.
  2. To prevent a ban on fireworks that would have destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of small family-owned businesses.

Strategy

To work with the Consumer Products Safety Commission to prevent a ban on fireworks, and at the same time launch a CPSC-approved annual safety campaign addressed to parents of young children.

Tactics

  • Formed and managed the National Fireworks Safety Council, which included fire chiefs, teachers and consumer representatives
  • Developed and distributed educational materials for schools, parents, fire stations and emergency response units to teach parents and young children how to handle their Fourth of July fireworks safely
  • Implemented annual media campaign, including major op-ed placement, news articles, radio and TV media tours and a media “hotline” in the weeks leading up to July 4th, reminding parents and consumers about the importance of fireworks safety

Result

Injuries have continued to drop dramatically, permitting backyard fireworks to continue to be made and sold for July 4 celebrations.

The safety campaign received two awards for excellence in public education from the Public Relations Society of America, including a Silver Anvil.



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