Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Halloween firework injuries are on the increase: Hospital

The Ulster Hospital has treated four times more patients than usual for fireworks related injuries in the run up to Halloween this year.

The hospital says it has experienced a “higher than usual influx” of those seeking treatment at its accident and emergency department.

The Community Telegraph understands that a total of eight young people have sustained serious injuries in handling fireworks — the hospital has usually treated around two people by this time each year.

This newspaper obtained a number of images from the hospital showing the disturbing extent of the injuries — which include someone who has lost the tip of their thumb.

Consultant plastic surgeon Dr Alistair Brown said he hoped that no-one else would get hurt.

He said: “I want to get the message out that you should only use fireworks purchased legitimately from a reputable firm, and use them as per the Fireworks Code.

“These injuries resulted from misuse of fireworks and some of the young people have sustained serious injuries which will have life long consequences.”

A government campaign was launched at Stormont two weeks ago, specifically warning children and young people about the danger of playing with fireworks.

This week, staff at the Emergency Department in the Ulster Hospital launched a week long Firework Safety campaign in the waiting area.

Last Halloween night the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service received 177 calls for assistance between the hours of 6pm and 3am — a reduction of 53.2% from 2008, making 2009 the quietest Halloween night for Fire Crews in recent years.

But, Eoin Doyle, assistant chief fire officer, NIFRS warned: “Fireworks and sparklers can be dangerous and without proper supervision they can cause serious injury.

“We would appeal to parents, young people and community leaders to always follow the Fireworks Code, think safety first and plan any firework display in advance to make it both safe and |enjoyable.

“If fire crews are called out to a fire during Halloween it's because somebody in that area is worried or concerned and NIFRS will respond.

“Remember firefighters are not out to spoil anyone's fun and Fire Crews in your area are there to protect life, protect property and keep you safe. I am appealing to people not to threaten or attack our Firefighters who are responding to emergency calls. Firefighters are very much a part of your local community, working tirelessly for the community to save lives and whose job is dangerous enough without this type of extra threat.

“Halloween should be a time of enjoyment and fun for everyone and by following a few basic safety rules and by putting safety first it can be.”

Meanwhile, the PSNI in the Bangor area have seized a large quantity of fireworks. The haul included an assortment of fireworks including rocket type fireworks.

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