Consumer fireworks can prove deadly

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

With the Fourth of July soon upon us, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has released a series of video Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to highlight the dangers associated with consumer fireworks.

NFPA is the coordinator and co-founder of the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks, a national group of health and safety organizations that have joined together to take a stand against the use of consumer fireworks.

The three PSAs feature voices of victims whose lives have been tragically altered due to fireworks, including individuals who have personally sustained life-changing injuries and a couple who experienced the loss of a child.

In addition to visual demonstrations showcasing the types of injuries that commonly occur when consumer fireworks are used, the videos include commentary by fire and police officials who deal with similar real-life situations in their communities, and healthcare professionals who are called upon to treat these senseless fireworks injuries.

Each year, around 10,000 people are treated in emergency rooms because of consumer fireworks, a product that is used legally in most states across the country. It is hoped that the public service announcements will remind people of the devastating consequences that can be associated with consumer fireworks and persuade them to celebrate the holiday by attending public displays put on by trained professionals.

In 2006, fireworks caused an estimated 32,600 reported fires, including 1,700 total structure fires, 600 vehicle fires, and 30,300 outdoor and other fires.

Also, nationally, there are typically more fires reported on Independence Day than on any other day of the year, and half of these fires are caused by fireworks.

Massachusetts is one of only five states that bans all consumer fireworks. The others are Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

Banning "amateur consumers" from using hazardous products such as fireworks - often in conjunction with alcohol consumption - makes sense to us.