Stark warning about illegal fireworks

July 2, 2012 3:23:16 PM PDT
Year after year, some people just don't get the message. Illegal fireworks are dangerous. Every year people are warned and every year some don't listen and pay a price.

As police demonstrated in Suffolk County, Long Island, illegal fireworks can be a recipe for disaster.

Officials scarified an old Ford Taurus to the cause of scaring you straight, in hopes you'll think twice before breaking the law and setting off firecrackers in your yard this week.

"The Fourth of July should be enjoyed by all of our families. And not be destroyed by a trip to the emergency room," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.

The numbers are sobering. According to the consumer product safety commission, nearly 96-hundred people were victims of fireworks injuries nationwide in 2011. That's up from 86-hundred the year before, a jump of nearly 12 percent.

"We've had two in the last week, and we haven't even hit July 4th yet," Dr. Steven Sandoval of Stony Brook University Hospital said.

Sandoval says 2012 is already shaping up to be a bad year. In the past few days he's treated a grown man who blew off part of his hand. An eight year old boy suffered severe burns on his chest.

In particular, experts say kids are especially vulnerable to sparklers, which parents think are harmless.

"Sparklers are essentially little flares and create heat in the thousand degree range or even higher. So those can burn just as bad as an firework," Sandoval said.

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