Senator Breslin Says 'think Twice' Before Shooting Off Fireworks

Neil D. Breslin

July 01, 2008

Reminds families that the use of consumer fireworks is illegal in New York State

While Fourth of July festivities and fireworks would seem to go hand in hand, State Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany) today reminded residents that the use of all consumer fireworks is illegal in New York State. The safest way to enjoy fireworks, he said, is through community events where trained professionals handle them.    

“In theory, a warning about the dangers of consumer fireworks should be unnecessary, given the fact that they are illegal in our state,” Senator Breslin said. “However, there are many New Yorkers who either don’t know about the law or who choose to overlook it, using fireworks at private celebrations.”

According to the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC), thousands of people are treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, many of them children under the age of 15. The most common injuries affect the hands and fingers, eyes, face and head. Over half of the injuries are burns.

Senator Breslin noted that fireworks-related injuries can be serious, leading to third degree burns, blindness and permanent scarring. Fireworks may also cause residential and motor vehicle fires. 

“Children get excited around fireworks, and their natural curiosity can increase their chance of getting hurt,” the Albany lawmaker added. “While some parents assume, for instance, that sparklers are relatively harmless, temperatures can actually reach more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re not toys. Don’t let children play with fireworks-- period.  OFPC states that sparklers were associated with more than half of the estimated injuries for children under 5 years of age.   

“Fireworks are exciting to watch, but they can be dangerous -- and turn deadly,” Senator Breslin concluded. “This summer season, and especially on our nation’s birthday, let’s make safety a top priority. Leave fireworks in the hands of pyrotechnic professionals.”