|Stephanie, Jack and Robin Shannon share the story of losing their son and brother Michael in a fireworks accident.|
|NFPA President James Shannon and Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan appeared with medical and public safety officials.|
|There were four demonstrations to show the damage fireworks can cause. This mannequin was severely burned after holding a sparkler.|
Joining the call in
“What we found is that there is no safe way to use consumer fireworks without a substantial risk,” says Robin Shannon, Michael’s mother.
Michael’s story is featured in an online video being circulated as a public service by the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks, a coalition of 22 national groups, formed five years ago by NFPA and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Michael was killed when a legal consumer firework tipped over and struck him in the head while he stood between his father’s legs more than 40 feet away. After Michael’s death, the particular firework device involved was taken off the market, but similar devices remain available.
“Families need to understand the risks involved with using even legal consumer fireworks,” says James Shannon of NFPA. “Consumer fireworks hurt many thousands of people and cause thousands of structural and vehicle fires. This year’s severe nationwide drought raises additional fire risks.”
“Year after year we stand with physicians, firefighters, and fireworks victims, sounding warnings. But injuries continue to occur,” said James Shannon. “The willingness of Michael Shannon’s family to share their experience is truly admirable and is leading parents to think twice about home-grown fireworks shows.”
In 2005, 10,800 people were treated at hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, according to a recent report from NFPA (PDF, 258 KB).
More than half (54 percent) of 2005 fireworks injuries were burns, according to the NFPA report. Approximately 29 percent of the injuries were contusions or lacerations. Fireworks also cause approximately 25,000 grass, brush, dumpster and other fires each year.
“We hear the phrase IED – improvised explosive device – every day on the news, and yet that is exactly what fireworks are – explosive devices,” said Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Coan. “Let’s keep explosives in the hands of professionals where they belong.”
NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.
*States with fireworks bans include:
The Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks includes: National Fire Protection Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Association for Hand Surgery, American Association of Public Health Physicians, American Burn Association, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Center for Injury Research & Policy, Emergency Nurses Association, Fire Department Safety Officers Association, International Association of Arson Investigators, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Fighters, International Fire Marshals Association, Metropolitan Fire Chiefs, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, National Association of School Nurses, National Association of State Fire Marshals, National Volunteer Fire Council, and Prevent Blindness America.
Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1-617-984-7275