Kane County and state of Illinois public safety officials are genuinely concerned about what could be a massive increase in the use of novelty and illegal fireworks.
Media reports from across the country say cities already are reporting huge increases in fireworks-related complaints. New York, for example, recorded more than 1,300 fireworks complaints during the first two weeks of June, compare to 25 for the same time period a year ago. Boston police recorded 1,445 fireworks complaints in the first week of June, compared with just 22 in the same week last year.
According to a news release from the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office, 126 people were injured and one killed between June 23 and July 20 last year — and many are worried those numbers could be many times higher in 2020.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many communities have canceled their displays,” state Fire Marshal Matt Perez said in a Friday news release. “This is raising concerns about an increase in use of novelty fireworks and illegal fireworks in Illinois.”
“We are concerned that people will resort to lighting fireworks in their back yards,” Perez said. “It is important to remember fireworks are dangerous and should only be used by someone who has a permit and the proper training.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. Those fires caused five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage in the United States.
Bob Wetzel OSFM Fire Safety Compliance Manager Bob Wetzel said home fireworks should be limited to “novelties” including sparklers, snappers and poppers, which can be purchased in any general retailer.
“Even these can be very dangerous,” he said. “Sparklers account for the greatest number of fireworks injuries, and often to the youngest victims.”
Wetzel said sparklers burn in excess of 1,200 degrees — hot enough to melt many metals and hot enough turn steel glowing red.
“An instantaneous touch of this will cause a burn and may result in permanent damage or scarring,” he said.
Healthcare facilities reported 126 persons having been injured and one person killed by fireworks
During the 2019 seasonal reporting period in Illinois about half of all 126 injured persons suffered multiple injuries. Males accounted for around 71% compared to just 27% females of all reported fireworks injuries.
Almost half of all injuries (48%) occurred to people over 22 years old. Children under 10 years old accounted for 22% of all injuries.
OSFM encourages healthcare providers to participate in reporting this information. Reports can be submitted in paper format or by visiting: https://www2.illinois.gov/
SOURCE: Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office news release
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