Consumer fireworks dangerous proposition

Friday, July 2, 2010

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and its Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks hosted a press conference this week to warn against the use of consumer fireworks.

"Every year fire departments and emergency rooms across the country must respond to the devastating consequences of consumer fireworks," said James M. Shannon, president of NFPA. "There is no safe way to use consumer fireworks. To prevent injuries and fires, we urge people to attend public fireworks displays put on by trained professionals."

According to a newly released NFPA report, in 2008 fireworks caused an estimated 22,500 reported fires, including 1,400 total structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 20,600 outdoor and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated $42 million in direct property damage.

On Independence Day in a typical year, more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for half of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.

"Parents underestimate how dangerous fireworks can be. Fireworks send 3,000 children under 15 to emergency rooms each year in the U.S. and nearly half of fireworks victims are under the age of 20," said Dr. Amy Rezak, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Division of Trauma in Boston. "Even seemingly harmless fireworks like sparklers result in serious burn injuries and account for one-third of the injuries to children under five," she added.

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

Earlier this month, NFPA released a new video explaining the dangers of consumer fireworks. This video and other video PSAs, audio interviews, statistics, safety tips and materials are available at http://www.nfpa.org/fireworks.