A Texas police department is bringing attention to safe fireworks practice ahead of the Fourth of July holiday by sharing a few “gnarly” images of fireworks-related injuries.
The Burleson Police Department shared six X-ray copies on its Facebook page Monday, which show hand injuries that the department says were caused by the use of fireworks. The images depict some of the victims suffering from broken or missing fingers, with other hands looking as if they’ve been completely blown to pieces.
“Every year we tell you how fireworks are ILLEGAL IN BURLESON CITY LIMITS and you tell us, ‘boo!’ ‘hiss!’ ‘you’re the worst!’” Burleson police wrote along with its post. “So we will give you another reason to not use fireworks. Just take a look at these gnarly X-rays from firework injuries.”
According to a recent report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), roughly 10,200 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments last year, with about 73 percent occurring in the two-week period around the Fourth of July.
The CPSC also reported 11 non-occupational fireworks-related deaths last year, including five tied to personal misuse of the pyrotechnics. Other fatal injuries stemmed from device malfunctions and one was associated with a fireworks device tipping over. Victims ranged from 11 to 43 years old.
“Fireworks are beautiful to watch, but they can be deadly when mishandled or misused, or if the fireworks themselves contain illegal components,” CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric said in a release attached to the department’s report. “I urge everyone to use care around fireworks, only use fireworks labeled for consumer use, and always keep children far away from fireworks, including sparklers. We want everyone to have a fun and safe celebration.”
Out of the fireworks injuries that occurred around July Fourth last summer, the body parts most often injured were hands or fingers. Other parts often injured included the head, face, ears, legs and eyes, CPSC reported.
Fireworks are partially legal in most U.S. states, with only Massachusetts implementing a complete ban on all consumer fireworks. Other states typically have restrictions on which types can be purchased by nonprofessionals as well as age restrictions. Three states—Hawaii, Nevada and Wyoming—regulate fireworks at the county level.
CPSC implements its own regulations for fireworks devices intended to be used by consumers. According to the agency’s website, the agency tests samples of fireworks in its own laboratory to determine if they meet federal requirements. Fireworks intended solely for commercial and professional use are not subjected to such tests, but devices and displays that present risks to consumers may still fall under the substantial product hazards code and be subject to such provisions.
Newsweek has reached out to CPSC for more information regarding fireworks safety.
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