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NC State Officials Urge Caution With Fireworks

National Fire Prevention Association

Independence Day celebrations raise concerns about fireworks-related injuries. Nationwide, emergency rooms treated almost 13,000 such injuries last year, according to the non-profit National Fire Protection Association.

Chief State Fire Marshal Brian Taylor acknowledged that many people cross state lines to purchase fireworks that are illegal in North Carolina. But Taylor said state law should continue to prohibit the sale and purchase of certain pyrotechnics.

"Why don't we legalize it?," Taylor asked. "Well, the concern we have there is that they'll be sold on every street corner then, so the accessibility of those fireworks, with the easier access, we'd see a rise in the injuries and structural damage."

Taylor said even hand-held sparklers can cause severe burns – they burn at a temperature of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit – but they are legal in North Carolina.

"To put that into perspective, water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit," said state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey in a recently released safety video.

And, added Brian Taylor, fireworks mishaps cause a lot of structural damage, too.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, approximately 18,500 fires caused by fireworks are reported across the country each year.

Rusty Jacobs is WUNC's Voting and Election Integrity Reporter.
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