Members of the Sheriff’s Bomb Squad and representatives from Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo urge the public to leave the fireworks to the professionals this Fourth of July.

Each year emergency rooms treat anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 victims of firework related injuries and of that total, roughly 25% of those injuries are to children under the age of fifteen. And nationally, the number of injuries treated at emergency rooms has nearly doubled since 2008. The injuries most often treated by emergency room personnel were to the hands and fingers followed by injuries to the head, face, eyes, and ears.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission 2016 Fireworks-Related Deaths and Emergency Department-Treated Injuries, 65% of the firework-related injuries treated were burns, and a common item given to children to celebrate with are sparklers but those burn at 1200 degrees, which is equivalent to a welding stick. When sparklers come in contact with skin it can cause third-degree burns and severe scarring; even the falling embers can burn the skin.

As the region’s only pediatric trauma center, Women and Children’s Hospital treats numerous firework-related injuries during annual Fourth of July celebrations. The hospital’s emergency room handles everything from hearing loss, amputated fingers and third-degree burns.

New York passed legislation three years ago allowing counties to legalize certain fireworks; however, Erie County has not legalized fireworks. The Sheriff’s Bomb Squad destroys nearly 3-tons of pyrotechnics each with an estimated value between $400,000.00 and $500,000.00.

Individuals arrested for possession of fireworks can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor; however, additional charges such as reckless endangerment and arson can be included.

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