Saturday, June 30, 2012

Firefighters, Doctors, Nurses Warn About Fireworks in the Hands of Amateurs

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

As adults, all of us are aware of the dangers of fireworks---legal and illegal---both for the fires they start and the injuries (and even deaths) they cause.

But the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks wants to remind us---and to think of children, as well.

In my opinion, the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks is poorly named---if only because to some, it may sound like a bunch of finger-wagging crabs trying to outlaw fun.

But in reality, the group was founded by the nation's leading health and safety organizations, like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Fire Protection Association---as well as other organizations of physicians, surgeons, nurses, fire marshals and more.

Here are some sobering statistics.

According to a National Fire Protection Association report, in 2010 alone, an estimated 15,500 reported fires were started by fireworks and 8,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

The report also shows that there are more fires on a typical Fourth of July than any other day of the year. Fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.

The Fireworks report outlines specific statistics regarding how the use of consumer fireworks relates to fire danger including:
  • In 2010, fireworks caused an estimated 15,500 reported fires, including 1,100 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 14,100 outside and other fires.
  • These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported deaths, 60 civilian injuries and $36 million in direct property damage.
The report demonstrates using consumer fireworks heightens the risk of injury and even death. The study showed:
  • The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-14 with more than twice the risk for the general population.
  • Sparklers and novelties alone accounted for 38 percent of the 8,600 emergency room fireworks injuries in 2010.
All of us should remember that behind the statistics there are people---real flesh-and-blood victims of fireworks gone wrong.

Why should we remember? Because it's human nature to see the statistics and think,"Yeah but that won't happen to me or my kids, especially if I'm right there to protect them."

Jack and Robin Shannon probably thought the same thing.

Their story is heartbreaking, and can be found on the NFPA YouTube channel.

May your Independence Day holiday be joyful, meaningful and safe.

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