The New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control urges all New Yorkers follow the law by not using fireworks this Fourth of July and to instead celebrate our nation's birth by attending only those fireworks displays conducted by professionals.
"Fireworks may appear fun and harmless, but unfortunately all too often they cause serious injury" said State Fire Administrator Bryant D. Stevens who heads the Office of Fire Prevention and Control. "Every year, far too many people suffer life long injuries, and far too many fires are caused by the use of illegal fireworks - these are injuries and fires that can, and must be prevented."
Nationally, in 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,8000 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
Hospital emergency rooms treat an estimated 9,800 people for fireworks-related injuries each year in this country. Nearly two-thirds of fireworks-related injuries are caused by backyard fireworks, including sparklers, firecrackers and bottle rockets. The most severe injuries are typically caused by powerful fireworks, such as M-80's, rockets, and cherry bombs.
Direct marketing and quick easy access to fireworks is growing at an alarming rate. Fireworks retailers are now aggressively marketing their products to New Yorkers though mail order flyers and internet sites, while vendors just across the state's borders are selling from roadside stands.
This easy access doesn't make fireworks any safer or any less illegal. "There is a reason why fireworks are illegal in New York State - to prevent needless serious injury and fires." said Paul D. Martin, Chief of Inspections and Investigations for OFPC. "People must refrain from using fireworks, not just to avoid arrest, but to ensure everyone has a safe and accident free holiday." Each year thousands of people nationwide are seriously injured as a result of playing with fireworks.
For most of us, our home symbolizes a lifetime of hard work and we cherish nothing more than the well being of our family. No one should risk losing what's most important to them because they didn't understand the dangers of fireworks. There are safer alternatives to using fireworks on the Fourth of July.
"This year, I urge people to avoid needless injuries and fire damage by leaving fireworks to the professionals," said State Fire Administrator Stevens. "Attending a public fireworks display is a safe, enjoyable and legal way to celebrate Independence Day."
Click here to download a Fireworks Safety Message
Click here to download a Fireworks Informative Poster