Newport City Fire Chief Cautions Firework Use by Amateurs

Staff Writer

Fireworks are very dangerous says Newport City Fire Chief John Harlamert. "They should be left to be people who are licensed and know what they are doing."
Each year, thousands of people get injured by using various types of fireworks, he said citing the National Safety Council (NSC). Over 50 percent of individuals who get hurt are kids and young adults under age 20. Two-thirds of the injuries happen between June 16 and July 16. Roughly 1,200 injures occurred by people using less powerful devices like firecrackers and sparklers. Injuries include loss of fingers, loss of hands, loss of eyesight, second-degree burns, major third-degree burns, and limb loss.
"People don't know how to handle them properly," he said. "You could have a fuse that burns too quickly. A firecracker can take a finger off, and a sparkler can burn your eyes. It could be too bright because the person is looking at it, or it could be an ember or whatever gets in their eye."
In addition to the injuries, fireworks are responsible for 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and 17,000 other fires. That's according to data from the NSC.
"In Vermont, all fireworks (not including Sparklers and other novelty smoke devices) are illegal except for permitted, supervised public fireworks displays," states the Department of Public Service website. "Fireworks are dangerous and unpredictable, especially in the hands of amateurs.(Read more in the Newport Daily Express Weekend Edition.