Harford officials urge fireworks safety for Fourth of July

The Harford County Department of Emergency Services urges residents and visitors to Harford County to refrain from using illegal or contraband fireworks during the July 4th holiday. Officials are concerned with the danger from illegal fireworks which may result in fires, burns and hand and eye injuries.

Maryland is one of several states that ban most forms of fireworks and small explosive devices for use by the general public.

According to statistics released by the National Fire Protection Association, in 2011 fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 fires, including more than 1,200 structure fires, 400 vehicle fires and more than 16,000 outdoor fires. These incidents resulted in eight civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and millions of dollars in property damage.

Additionally, statistics compiled by the NFPA indicate the risk of fireworks injury is highest for young people ages 15 to 24, followed by children under 10 years of age.

Despite the dangers of fireworks, people do not seem to understand the devastating injuries to the hands, eyes and head these devices can produce.

"I highly recommend the public refrain from using illegal fireworks in Harford County this holiday weekend. The safest place to enjoy fireworks is by attending one of the many licensed, regulated fireworks displays in the state this week," Russell J. Strickland, director of the Department of Emergency Services, said.

For an updated list of public fireworks displays in Maryland this Fourth of July holiday, visit the Maryland State Fire Marshal website, http://www.mdsp.org/firemarshal.

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