Leave the fireworks to the professionals

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s inevitable that during the next few days, you’ll be in a position where you, your family or people in your neighborhood will be using fireworks to help celebrate the holiday.

But, you’ve got to be very careful when playing with fireworks.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the misuse of fireworks during the holiday season is one of the biggest causes of injuries and death.

North Carolina has a number of restrictions on what consumers can buy in this state when it comes to fireworks.

“Pretty much anything that explodes, lifts off the ground, flies through the air – that’s usually illegal in North Carolina,” says Mallory Wojciechowski of of the BBB of Eastern North Carolina. “Whether you are selling or possessing fireworks make sure they are legal.”

We’ve all seen the demonstrations that show just how dangerous fireworks can be—especially if they are misused, but those demonstrations are with mannequins.

In life, real people are the ones injured or killed people like 3-year-old Michael Shannon, a Cary who died in a fireworks accident back in 1991.

“When it lit it rocked and tipped over and fired across the ground. And Michael was standing between my legs and was struck in the back of the head.”

His death spurred his family to speak out about the dangers of fireworks.

“It’s not safe, it’s not regulated,” said Stephanie Shannon. “It’s what makes a tragedy a mission. And I think it’s what keeps us going every day.”

Michel Shannon died while his parents were right there supervising him. Doctors say that’s all too common with fireworks.

“More than half of all fireworks injuries happened with adequate and direct adult supervision present,” said Dr. Sarah Combs, Children’s National Medical Center.

The Consumer product safety commission says its most recent figures for 2017 show:

  • 8 people died in firework-related incidents
  • Nearly 13,000 people went to the emergency room
  • 36 percent of those injured were under 15

It says its figures for 2018 are still being compiled.

And remember—bigger is not always better.

You need to stay away from using commercial grade fireworks for personal use. Those explosives should only be handled by professionals.

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