Michael F. Easley
Governor

The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina Carmen Hooker Odom
Secretary

North Carolina
Department of Health and Human Services

For Release: IMMEDIATE
Date: June 29, 2007

  Contact: Debbie Crane
919 733 9190

Leave the fireworks to the professionals

RALEIGH – Fireworks can cause serious injury. That's why experts with the North Carolina Division of Public Health (DPH) have one message for the public prior to this Fourth of July – Leave the fireworks to the professionals.

“Fireworks-related injuries are largely clustered around the Fourth of July,” said Rhonda Roberts, an epidemiologist in the DPH Injury and Violence Prevention Branch. “You can reduce the possibility of injury by avoiding backyard fireworks. Look for one of the large community-sponsored events, which are much safer.”

North Carolina Emergency Department Data for 2006 shows that 55 people were treated for fireworks injuries. Thirty-five of those injuries occurred in July. In general, males are more likely to be injured by fireworks. That's certainly true in the North Carolina 2006 data; of the thirty-five injuries, 23 were to males. Fireworks injuries also affect younger people – 32 were in people 34 and younger. Three children under the age of one were injured.

“There really isn't a good reason to set off fireworks at home,” Roberts said. “The big community displays are infinitely more entertaining and they are set off under controlled situation by professionals. There is a lot less opportunity for something to go wrong.”

Both the U.S. National Fire Protection Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend strongly recommend that fireworks be used only by professionals.

CDC national data for the 2005 Fourth of July show that firecrackers (26%), sparklers (17%) and rockets (17%) accounted for the most injuries seen in emergency departments.

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Public Affairs Office
101 Blair Drive, Raleigh, NC 27603
(919)733-9190
FAX (919)733-7447

Debbie Crane
Director