Fireworks in Massachusetts: dangerous and illegal

Massachusetts state officials are asking people to keep safety in mind as they partake in Fourth of July celebrations this week. While Independence Day is known for barbeques, parades and block parties, there is also a dangerous side to the holiday. Fireworks, in particular, can present a hazard this time of year.

According to a press release from the Executive Office for Public Safety and Security, about 45 patients have been treated for serious burn injuries from fireworks in the state’s emergency rooms over the past 10 years. Officials are hoping not to add to that list this year, despite the fact that it is illegal for private citizens to possess or use fireworks in the state.

“Even though fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts, unfortunately every Fourth of July, we usually see at least a few fireworks-related injuries,” said the director of operations for emergency services at Massachusetts General Hospital. “It’s important to remember that some things that seem really harmless, like sparklers, can actually be quite dangerous.”

Massachusetts is one of only a handful of states that has placed a ban on the possession and use of all fireworks. That is probably why fireworks cause many more injuries throughout the rest of the nation. For example, there were about 9,600 fireworks-related injuries nationally in 2011, according to a report by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

From a personal injury standpoint, fireworks for personal use are an all-around bad idea. Not only are you putting yourself at risk of serious injury, you could also face legal liability if someone else is injured by your fireworks. That’s why it’s best to leave fireworks displays to the professionals.

With that said, have a safe and enjoyable holiday!

Source: Boston Globe, “Don’t play with fireworks on 4th of July, safety and health officials warn,” Helen Shen, June 29, 2012