FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information:
Phone: (800) 301-2020 ext. 118
More than 6,000 Americans expected to spend the 4th of July in
Emergency Rooms Due to Fireworks-related Injuries
Prevent Blindness Urges the Public to Educate
Themselves on the Dangers of Fireworks
Columbus, OH (May 13, 2014) – In 2012, 8,700 people were treated in emergency departments for firework-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Fireworks Annual Report issued in 2013. An estimated 5,200 fireworks-related injuries, or 60 percent of people treated, occurred during the one-month period surrounding the Fourth of July Holiday. The parts of the body most injured were hands and fingers (estimated 2,100 injuries), head, face, and ears (1,000 injuries), trunk (800 injuries), legs (700 injuries), eyes (600 injuries), and arms (100 injuries). Some injuries even caused permanent vision loss.
The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness warns the public about the potential danger of fireworks because we want to invite the public to help ward off the number of expected injuries. Injuries from fireworks can have a severe impact, even affecting lives years after the accident.
According to the report, sparklers accounted for an estimated 600 injuries.Sparklers, which often are given to young children, burn at 1200 degrees or even hotter—hot enough to melt copper! For children under the age of five, sparklers accounted for the largest number of estimated injuries at 110 injuries (22%) of the total injuries in that age group. Injuries to children under the age of 15 accounted for 30 percent of the estimated firework-related injuries. Children and young adults under 20 years old had 46 percent of the estimated injuries. And in most cases bystanders are more often injured by fireworks than the operators themselves.
When Colin Burns was in the 5th grade his life changed when shrapnel and gunpowder from a firework that someone else lit, destroyed his left eye. To make matters even worse, Burns was already being treated for amblyopia, or lazy eye. The accident caused him to replace his “good eye” with a prosthetic eye and he then needed to rely on his weaker eye to compensate. Burns endured multiple surgeries over the next few years, including one where doctors moved tissue from his bottom lip to his eye socket to help fill up space. Because the risk of injury to his right eye was too great, he was not able to play in organized sports growing up.
Despite his injury, Burns accomplished tremendous amounts, including recently graduating law school. However, the lingering effects of his eye injury have made many activities, including driving and reading, more difficult.
“Of course as a child, I didn’t fully realize how important healthy eyes were until my accident,” said Burns. “I hope my story will serve as a reminder to everyone, especially parents, on how dangerous fireworks can be.”
Attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators but be aware that injuries can still occur.
Prevent Blindness continues to support the development and enforcement of bans on the importation, sale and use of all fireworks and sparklers, except for authorized public displays by competent licensed operators. The non-profit charitable organization believes such bans are the only effective means of eliminating the social and economic impact of fireworks-related trauma and damage.
“We want to wish everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July,” said Sherry Williams, President & CEO of The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness “We encourage everyone to celebrate this important holiday without the use of fireworks and sparklers.”
For more information on fireworks safety, please call Prevent Blindness Ohio at (800) 301-2020, log on to pbohio.org or preventblindness.org/prevent-eye-injuries-fireworks.
Prevent Blindness is partnering with Child Injury Prevention Alliance, Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of State Fire Marshal, and the Ohio Eye Care Coalition for their annual Fireworks Safety News Conference on Thursday, June 26, 2014 from 10-11 a.m. at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium. The news conference will be held to caution and educate Ohioans about the dangers of backyard fireworks. The 2013 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s fireworks annual injury report will also be released at the news conference. For more information call Pam Turrell at 800-301-2020, ext. 118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Prevent Blindness
Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation's leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness serves all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to more than 800,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight. For more information or to make a contribution, call 800-301-2020. Or, visit us on the web at www.pbohio.org or facebook.com/pbohio and Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/PB_Ohio.
Fireworks Safety PSA
Backyard fireworks ARE dangerous. Did you know that a sparkler burns at 1800-degrees Fahrenheit - hot enough to melt gold? Children allowed to play with or around these dangerous devices can suffer serious eye and other injuries and even death! Prevent Blindness wants you to be SAFE this Fourth of July! There are precautions you can take to avoid ending a day of fun by taking a trip to the emergency room or worse! The best way to prevent accidents is to avoid handling ALL fireworks. Visit pbohio.org or call 1-800-301-2020 for a free copy of the Safe Summer Celebrations brochure or the First Aid for Eye Emergencies sticker or for more information.