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Fireworks present high risk of injury to New Jersey residents

Personal use of fireworks is illegal in New Jersey, but that doesn’t stop many from crossing state lines to get some supplies for Fourth of July festivities. State safety officials issued a warning to New Jersey residents about personal firework use, encouraging them to leave it to the professionals so that everyone can have a fun and safe holiday.

People who do choose to buy and set off illegal fireworks at their homes may run into trouble if they are caught or if they cause and burn injuries. Firework injuries are more common than many New Jersey residents realize and they can be very serious, leading to permanent disfigurement or disability.

Hands and fingers are the most frequently injured part of the body, making up about 30 percent of the total firework injuries in 2010. Legs, faces, ears, and eyes all also suffer from a significant number of firework injuries.

People who are injured from fireworks while visiting a friend’s home may be able hold the homeowner liable for injuries that result from negligent or illegal firework use.

In 2010, there were an estimated 900 injuries associated with firecrackers alone. Bottle rockets and sparklers were responsible for about 1,200 injuries.

New Jersey residents should be very careful in choosing whether or not to light fireworks at their celebrations this weekend and next week. The Fourth of July can be a fun holiday, but it would be a lot less fun to spend it waiting in line at the emergency room.

Source: New Jersey 101.5, “4th Of July Fireworks Safety Tips,” Stacy Proebstle, June 29, 2012.

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