Each year when we promote fireworks safety, we get a lot of flak from people who think our stance is downright absurd. In response to yesterday’s Facebook post, which stated that there’s no safe way to use consumer fireworks, one person commented, “That is the dumbest statement I’ve read today, I’ve never met one person injured by fireworks.”
Anyone who tracks fireworks injuries knows that thousands of people are, in fact, injured from fireworks each year. Many of those injuries are serious or even fatal. Just this past weekend in Michigan, a 47-year-old man died when a large mortar fireworks shell he was holding next to his head exploded.
According to Walled Lake, MI, Police Chief Paul Shakinas, when first responders arrived, they found the man unresponsive, not breathing, and suffering from severe trauma to the back of his head.
“Hands down, the worst I’ve ever seen,” Shakinas said. “I’ve seen (fireworks) accidents, but never causing a fatality. He was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Firefighters and first responders can attest to the damage fireworks cause each year. An article in today's Boston Globe today reinforced that message. According to Rick DeLorie, Wellesley, MA, fire chief and president of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts, firefighters respond “to all types of fires and medical emergencies” over the holiday because of fireworks. “In fact, July 4 is the busiest day for fires after Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
Massachusetts officials also noted that over the past year, rescuers have responded to several fireworks incidents resulting in car and home damage, serious burns, and, in one case, the amputation of a person’s hand.