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Mississippians Urged to Be Careful with Fireworks

By Daniel Cherry | Published 02 Jul 2012 06:42pm | comments
The season for fireworks is already in full swing, and safety officials are warning Mississippi residents to be careful. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how improper handling can lead to major harm to people and property.
 
While shopping for fireworks with her husband and children, Erica Young of Jackson says she always makes sure her family uses  precautions when enjoying fireworks.
 
"We try to get on the concrete and light them so we don't burn up the grass. We had a bad experience as a child with a bush burning up with a snake. I always remember that so I try to be careful with them. It kind of makes me scared of fireworks."
 
Safety officials recommend finding an open area to fire them off and make sure spectators are well out of harm's way. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says about 1,600 Americans injure their eyes using fireworks each year. Dr. Fred McMillan, an Ophthalmologist in Jackson has seen his share of unnecessary injuries from fireworks.
 
"The bottle rocket goes off a lot faster than they expect so (before they) get out of harm's way it hits them in the face or the eye. Unfortunately I've had several patients who were permanently blinded from firework injuries."
 
About one in four firework related eye injuries result in permanent vision loss or blindness. Mississippi is also in the middle of a very dry spell, and the conditions for fires are perfect in much of the state. Joe Cole manages a firework tent in Pocahontas.
 
"You're near houses, you're near an open field that may be very dry and catch fire. It's also, the risk is not worth the reward for having any kind of activity that's going to pose a danger to yourself or anyone around you." 
 
Mississippi's Fire Marshall says there were nearly 50 firework related fires in the beginning of July last year.

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