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Format: 04/20/2014
Format: 04/20/2014

News

Valley News Dispatch: Caution: Fireworks injuries reported on the rise

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

By Charlie Ban

For the Valley News Dispatch

Fireworks are a big part of Americans' July 4 celebrations, but some might result in trips to the emergency room. 

The Alle-Kiski Valley's police departments will be beefing up their patrols to enforce the state ban on many types of fireworks.

Aerial fireworks are illegal in Pennsylvania without a display permit.

Harrison police Chief Mike Klein suggested that his township would not likely grant additional permits for fireworks displays.

"They are only issued to legitimate display operators," he said. "Our advice would be to attend an officially authorized fireworks display. There will be ample displays advertised."

The Springdale Police Department has received complaints of illegal fireworks use since Friday.

Officer Jeremy Liotta said the department typically gets fireworks reports the week before July 4 each year.

"We see a lot toward Springdale High School and near the railroad tracks," he said. "We have a lot of side streets, so that affects visibility and how much we can see on patrol."

Springdale will deploy eight officers during its carnival each night this week, with help from 10 Westmoreland County sheriff's reserves.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission will release its report on last year's fireworks-related injuries on Tuesday. During 2007, nearly 10,000 people sought emergency room treatment for such injuries -- 64 percent of them in the month surrounding July 4.

In both 2006 and 2007, 11 deaths were reported, according to the safety commission. The report notes an upward trend in fireworks-related injuries during the last 10 years.

Roger Barrette, associate director of the West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh, said the center staff treats a lot of hand and facial burns around July 4.

"Some of the hand injuries are extreme," he said. "There are a tremendous number of disabilities and mangled hands resulting from fireworks injuries.

"Most people don't appreciate the danger because they've gotten away with playing with fireworks for a while, but it only takes one accident to hurt you.

"It's essentially a bomb going off in your hand," he added.

Barrette said adults often visit the hospital after incidents with mortar and explosive fireworks -- lighting them improperly or not getting out of the way.
 

To read more, visit the Valley News Dispatch web site.

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