The dangers of fireworks
The COVID-19 pandemic has led just about every local community to cancel its Fourth of July fireworks celebrations. Those cancellations have led to a different kind of public safety concern.
With no community fireworks displays this year, local first responders are worried for the public's safety, concerned people will take it upon themselves to set off their own fireworks.
"The problem with that is, for one, they're illegal within the most cities, Fond du Lac especially," says Division Chief Garth Schumacher with Fond du Lac Fire Rescue. Adding, "But there's always a distance when you put these fireworks off that you have to maintain to light them off safely."
The safety of others is what first responders are so concerned about. Fireworks injure thousands of people each year, with many of those injuries coming during the month of July.
According to Brenda Kissinger EMS Trauma Supervisor at St. Agnes Hospital Emergency Department, "About 9,000 injuries happen annually during the month of July. And those injuries, 50% of them are the age of 20 and under."
Using consumer fireworks, that anyone can buy, and fruits and vegetables, Fond du Lac Fire Rescue is demonstrating just how dangerous these fireworks can be.
"We want to get as much information out to consumers that they can think twice about having one of these shows in their backyard," says Fond du Lac Fire Rescue Chief Peter O'Leary.
Whether it's just a firecracker, which can demolish a bell pepper, or a larger spraying firework that explodes and shreds a watermelon, these demonstrations are a warning and an example of the damage fireworks can cause to a person.
Schumacher adds, "They'll tell you, this one is a great one, it blows up and it's a beautiful display. They won't tell you if it falls over and points at the crowd, like Chief said, you can put five or six people right now in the hospital with whatever injury you can think of, eye injury, burn, so it is a major concern."
And a huge reason why first responders are asking people to leave the fireworks up to the professionals.