Fireworks safety

Staff Report

Each July 4, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks in the United States. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks –— devastating burns, injuries fires, and even death.

This year, we face an additional risk of fire because of the extreme heat and drought conditions. Illegal fireworks, even sparklers, can easily start a fire on grass and even spread to buildings. This poses an unnecessary risk to our community.

In 2011, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,600 people for fireworks-related injuries.

The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-14, with more than twice the risk for the general population.

“The best thing anyone can do is leave the fireworks to the professionals,” said Rockford Fire Division Chief Matthew Knott. “Fireworks can be very dangerous and are also illegal.”

The Rockford Fire Department will investigate illegal fireworks activities and will issue the appropriate citations to violators.

From the July 4-10, 2012, issue

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