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FASNY: This 4th of July, let pros handle fireworks


Sat, Jun 23rd 2018 01:05 pm
FASNY strongly urges NYers not to use sparkling devices
Guest editorial by the Firemen's Association of the State of New York
The Fourth of July is just around the corner and along with it comes the annual tradition of fireworks shows. The Firemen's Association of the State of New York (FASNY) urges New Yorkers to let professionals handle the fireworks, and not to use these kind of devices themselves.
In 2014, New York state legalized the use of certain sparkling devices, defined as ground-based or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and or a colored flame, audible crackling or whistling noise and smoke. Counties have the option of banning the sale of these devices within their borders, but the vast majority of the state allows for them to be sold. Under the law, sparkling devices can be sold between June 1 and July 5 (as well as Dec. 26 to Jan. 1).
The legalization of sparkling devices does not change the fact they are extremely dangerous if used by those without proper training. Despite their toy-like appearances, sparklers can seriously harm their users. The tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause severe third-degree burns. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers cause roughly 25 percent of all fireworks-related emergency room visits, the most of any type of fireworks-like device.
"Fireworks and sparkling devices are extremely dangerous in the hands of a non-professional," FASNY President Ken Pienkowski said. " When misused, fireworks and sparkling devices can cause serious bodily harm, and even death, to their users and to those around them. Fireworks should only be used by professionals who have undergone the proper training and certification in their operation. Rather than take this sort of risk, FASNY urges New Yorkers to attend one of the many excellent fireworks displays available across New York state."
In 2017, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported  68 percent of the total estimated fireworks-related injuries in 2016 occurred in the month surrounding July 4, with almost one-third of those injured being children under the age of 15.
"FASNY wishes all a happy and safe Fourth of July. Should there be an emergency or unsafe situation, we urge everyone to call 911 for help. It's better to be safe than sorry," Pienkowski said.
Founded in 1872, the Firemen's Association of the State of New York represents the interests of the approximately 105,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York state. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.

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