With Independence Day almost here, state officials are reminding residents to leave fireworks to the professionals.
“Even though fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts, unfortunately every Fourth of July we usually see at least a few fireworks-related injuries,” said Dr. Paul Biddinger, director of operations for emergency services at Massachusetts General Hospital. “It’s important to remember that some things that seem really harmless, like sparklers, can actually be quite dangerous.”
State law prohibits possession and use of all fireworks by private citizens. It is also illegal to transport legally obtained fireworks from elsewhere into Massachusetts.
“Statistics back up our position from a public safety and public health standpoint,” said state Fire Marshal Stephen Coan. The rate of fireworks-related emergency room visits here is three to five times below the national average, he said.
US hospital emergency departments treated about 9,600 fireworks-related injuries in 2011, according to a June report by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Most injuries occurred in the month around July 4, with sparklers accounting for nearly 18 percent and firecrackers for about 13 percent. During that period, about one-quarter of fireworks-related injuries involved children below the age of 15.