Long Beach Fire Department stresses the dangers of fireworks

According to statistics gathered by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), in a typical year more fires are reported on Independence Day than on any other day of the year, and fireworks account for half of those fires, more than any other cause. In 2004 alone, fireworks caused an estimated 1,500 structure fires and 600 vehicle fires reported to fire departments. These 2,100 fires resulted in an estimated $21 million in direct property damage.
In 2005 hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 10,800 people for fireworks-related injuries. Nearly half the people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15, with children between the ages of 10 and 14 injured nearly three times more than the general population. Sparklers, fountains, and novelties alone accounted for 26 percent of the emergency room fireworks injuries.
The slogan “Safe and Sane,” used by some fireworks manufacturers, proves inaccurate when in fact 95 percent of the fireworks injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms were attributed to fireworks that federal regulations permit consumers to use. Fireworks and sparklers are designed to explode or throw off showers of hot sparks, with temperatures that may exceed 1200 degrees. The most tragic of statistics gathered by the NFPA indicates that between the years 2000 and 2004, seven people per year were killed in fires started by fireworks and that an additional seven people were killed directly by fireworks.
In addition to the dangers associated with fireworks, the Long Beach Police Department will be actively enforcing laws regarding the possession of all types of fireworks, including sparklers. To ensure a safe and enjoyable 4th of July celebration, the Long Beach Fire Department encourages the viewing of fireworks shows conducted by trained professionals. These presentations can be seen at Veterans Stadium, the Virginia Country Club, off the stern of the Queen Mary, and in neighboring cities that offer fireworks shows.
For more information on fire hazards and fireworks safety go to www.nfpa.org.

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