Fourth of July is the largest holiday in the United States for setting off fireworks. While they may be fun to watch, there is a dangerous side. Each year 9,300 people are seriously injured by fireworks, and 60 percent of those accidents occur in july. WFFT's Brooke Welch spoke with a woman who was seriously injured by a firework in 2002, and now wants to help raise awareness of dangers that go along with setting off fireworks.
Fireworks are very pretty, but they can cause physical and emotional scars that can last for a lifetime. "It was so hot, that there was only one drop of blood on my tennis shoe. And everything else was completely burned out."
Toni Mayo is describing her leg...when on july 4, 2002 Mayo was asked to light a commercial firework. "Fireworks are to go up into the air, hundreds and hundreds of feet. Well, this was launched into my leg, a foot of the ground."
An accident that would take years of recovery. "It was so hot, that there was only one drop of blood on my tennis shoe. and everything else was completely burned out."
Mayo spent part of her time at the St. Joseph Regional Burn Center. Nurse Practitioner Michelle Mccarty says it's not just the big fireworks that cause problems. "People tend to think of them as the safe firework. But we see an increase, especially in small children from the smaller firework such as sparklers. That can catch clothing on fire."
Jim Murea, the Assistant Chief Fire Marshall for Fort Wayne, recommends going to a public firework show. But if you insist on buying fireworks, he has some safety advice. "If you are going to use your own fireworks, make sure you have gloves on, make sure you wear glasses. Make sure you have the whole crowd away from the fireworks scene itself."
Other advice? Never relight a firework that doesn't light. Have a bucket of water available or an extinguisher. Also, make sure you place the fireworks on stable ground so they don't tip over, and do not ever let children play with them. Lastly, do not use alcohol.
Mayo has a scar from her experience, and hopes her story keeps an accident from happening to someone else. "For every action, there is a consequence. How would I ever know, that bending over and lighting a firework would lead to that kind of recovery."