SPRINGFIELD – With fireworks season approaching, the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) reminds Illinois residents to remember the deadly dangers posed by fireworks. June is National Fireworks Safety Month was established to educate children and adults about the dangers of fireworks.
“Fireworks should never be used as toys or entertainment devices. They should only be handled by trained professionals,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis. “It is absolutely imperative that families keep their children safe by obeying Illinois laws. The concept of safe fireworks is nonexistent; leave them to the professionals by attending public community firework events.”
Pursuant to the Illinois Fireworks Use Act (425 ILCS 35), any consumer firework distributor, company, association, group or retailer must be registered and licensed with the OSFM. In Illinois, it is illegal to possess, purchase or use consumer fireworks without a consumer display permit obtained from local authorities. Individuals caught with controlled consumer fireworks in Illinois, who lack the necessary consumer display permit, could be subject to arrest.
The following show statistics on hospital emergency room injuries involving fireworks in the United States in 2010:
• Thirty nine percent of injuries by fireworks are received by children under 15 years old
• One third of firework eye injuries result in permanent eye damage
• One fourth of firework eye injuries result in permanent vision loss or blindness
• Firework injuries to hands and fingers represent 30 percent of total injuries
• Firework injuries to the head and face represent 16 percent of total injuries
• Sparklers, which burn at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, are the leading cause of juvenile injuries
• Sparklers, novelties and fountains account for 43 percent of injuries
In 2011, two fatal accidents involving fireworks were reported in Illinois. One took place in McHenry County on January 1st and the other in DuPage County on May 30th. Both victims were unlicensed and using illegally obtained professional grade fireworks.
The following are additional statistics reported last year in Illinois:
• One hundred and ninety six citizens were injured by fireworks in Illinois
• Thirty nine people suffered 1st degree burns
• Sixty people sustained 2nd degree burns
• Nineteen suffered serious lacerations
• Twenty eight suffered abrasions
• Eighty nine children between the ages of 6 and 21 were injured
According to the National Council of Fireworks Safety, careless use of fireworks causes nearly 10,000 injuries a year in the United States; close to 2,000 of those injuries are eye-related involving children under age 15.
For more information on fireworks safety please visit www.FireworksSafety.org or www.sfm.illinois.gov.