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No July 4 fireworks injuries on Oahu, state says; ban praised

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    It should be a much quieter Fourth of July this year with a near total fireworks ban in effect. Firecrackers can still be purchased with a permit

For the first time in nine years, there were no fireworks-related injuries treated in Oahu hospital emergency rooms during the Fourth of July weekend, the state Department of Health said today.

Dan Galanis, epidemiologist for the department’s Injury Prevention and Control Program, said the decline in injuries is probably related to the sharp decrease in fireworks use since a county ban on nearly all consumer fireworks went into effect Jan. 2. Oahu residents may buy and use only firecrackers. Sparklers, fountains and other types of fireworks are now banned on Oahu.

Since 2003 — when the department began tracking such injuries — through 2010, an average of 17 people were treated in Oahu hospitals for fireworks-related injuries, Galanis said. Last year 16 people reported injuries.

“To get to zero is really impressive,” Galanis said. “It’ll be interesting to see how the numbers decrease around New Year’s.”

In contrast, nine people were treated for fireworks-related injuries on the neighbor islands, the most since 2006, Galanis said. That total includes four each on Maui and Hawaii, and one on Kauai. Most of the patients were injured while holding or setting off fireworks, Galanis said.

There were also fewer firework-related fires on Oahu during the Fourth of July weekend: four fires, down from 27 last year.

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