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Don't Be a Statistic: Avoid Fireworks Injuries This Fourth of July

12:02 PM, Jul 4, 2013   |    comments
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North Carolina -Both local law enforcement and national public safety agencies reiterated Thursday the critical and often life-saving fireworks safety tips that the public should practice this Fourth of July. According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, more than 5,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms nationwide last July, and 3,000 of those happened on July 4.

According to USCPSC's 2012 Consumer Fireworks Safety Status Report, more than half of the fireworks injuries reported were burns. Forty one percent of those injuries were to the hands and fingers, 19 percent to heads and faces and 15 percent to trunks of bodies. The age group 25 to 44 sustained the largest percentage of injuries. The risk of fireworks injury was greatest for children ages 5 to 14. Seventy four percent of men and 26 percent of women were injured using fireworks.

The Greensboro Fire Department recently released new tips in light of the holiday. The department and Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page, who talked with WFMY News 2's Good Morning Show Thursday, strongly advised letting only professionals handle fireworks and attending a public fireworks display conducted by trained professionals. Local law enforcement also advises parents not to let their children pick up any fireworks leftover from a display, as they still can be active.

If people do choose to use their own fireworks, they must abide by their city's fireworks permit requirements and noise ordinances. Law enforcement said if families do purchase and set off their own fireworks, an adult always should be present.

Like the Greensboro Fire Department, Sheriff Page also distributed several safety tips. In regard to firework safety, he suggested people stay at least 500 feet away from professional displays, which he does strongly encourage people to attend. He said if people are at a beach or lake, they should be mindful of the "dangerous 'too's")-too tired, too cold, too far away from safety, too much sun and too much strenuous activity.

Both the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission and the National Fire Protection Association have issued public service announcements, in which they demonstrate (using dummies and cartoon characters) the severity of what can happen if people are too close to fireworks or are not aware of their surroundings.

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