Backyard fireworks are dangerous; avoid them

I am responding to the June 25 article titled “Safety first with July 4 fireworks, firecrackers.” On behalf of Prevent Blindness Ohio, thank you for encouraging the people of Marietta to leave fireworks to the professionals!

Backyard fireworks can be very dangerous and change lives forever by causing permanent injuries and sometimes even death.

According to 2012 data released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission released just yesterday, last year an estimated 8,700 people were sent to the emergency room for treatment of firework-related injuries and there were six associated deaths. Sixty percent of people treated, occurred during the one-month period surrounding the Fourth of July Holiday.

Half of all fireworks injuries are to innocent bystanders -many of them children. Last year there were 500 cases of emergency treatment for children under the age of five due to sparklers, which burn up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit – hot enough to melt most metals! The safety of our children is the price we pay when igniting backyard fireworks. Just because something is legal (and fun), doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Prevent Blindness Ohio cares about this issue because eyes are the third most injured part of the body. We believe there is no safe way to use backyard fireworks and support the development and enforcement of bans on the importation, sale and use of all fireworks and sparklers, except those used in authorized public displays by licensed operators. But remember, even public displays can be dangerous!

We want families to be aware of the dangers posed by fireworks and Prevent Blindness Ohio thanks the Marietta Times for their effort in warning the public. Prevent Blindness Ohio urges all citizens to stay away from backyard fireworks this holiday season and celebrate in safer ways.

Sherill K. Williams, president and CEO

Prevent Blindness Ohio