Watch a video about the danger of fireworks made by the Alliance for Consumer Fireworks and National Fire Protection Association

Tuesday July 3, 2012

Fireworks are awesome, but leave setting them off to the professionals.

That's the message state safety officials have been broadcasting leading into the Fourth of July, and it's a sentiment shared by local fire chiefs.

"The Fourth of July is supposed to be a happy day -- why increase the potential to ruin someone's holiday by causing bodily harm or property damage by setting off your own?" said Pittsfield Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski. "Go and enjoy a professional show and be safe; there will be plenty around."

Fireworks are illegal in Mass achusetts, but moreover, they're dangerous, according to authorities. Czerwinski said there haven't been any major fireworks mishaps in Pittsfield in recent years, but he said fireworks are unpredictable and the potential exists.

A video produced by the state police's bomb squad details the potential damage consumer fireworks can do. It shows dummies with fireworks strapped to their hands being mangled and otherwise blown to pieces by the small, seemingly innocuous colorful packages.

While extreme, what the video depicts is well within the realm of what's possible.

Last year in Massachusetts there were several injuries caused by consumer-grade fireworks.


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In one case, a display fired into a crowd, badly burning three people, including a 13-year-old boy and 17-year-old girl. In another case, illegal fireworks caused serious injury to three youths, ages 9, 13 and 14.

Firework injuries disproportionately harm children, with nearly one quarter of all firework mishaps hurting kids ages 10 to 14, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

That group said 3,400 children under 15 are sent to emergency rooms with fireworks related injuries each year.



July 4 fireworks

Lenox, Tanglewood, with the display following the James Taylor concert.

North Adams, Joe Wolfe Field, 9:30 p.m., rain date: July 5.

Pittsfield, Wahconah Park, 9 p.m., or at the conclusion of the Pittsfield Suns game.