Spend July Fourth with safety in mind

Think all those fireworks are safe?

There were 1,316 fireworks related incidents reported to the State Fire Marshal in 2003 by various fire departments and hospitals. Of the 1,316 reports, 1,072 fires and 244 injuries were reported. There was more than $2 million in property loss.

In 2002, almost 9,000 people with fireworks-related injuries were seen in emergency rooms across the United States, 62 percent of those people injured were under 20 years old. Many people believe sparklers are safe, though they can reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees.

As for Kitsap County, every year six-20 people are seen at Harrison Hospital with various injuries, mainly burns. Many injuries also seen are dog bites which result from loud fireworks that alarm dogs.

“The message I want to get out is there is no such thing as a safe firework and they belong in the hands of professionals,” said Patty Hart, Harrison Hospital spokeswoman. “Many firework injuries have an alcohol component — fireworks and alcohol don’t mix.”

Members of the Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue, Kitsap County Fire Chiefs Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians and National Fire Protection Association urge citizens to attend public fireworks displays rather than use consumer fireworks.

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