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Fireworks Safety Paramount As 4th Of July Approaches

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Marcus Washington joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2014 as...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A warning as an American holiday celebration proves to be the cause of an increasing number of serious hospital visits for kids.

Marcus Washington has more.

Some of Maryland’s top emergency officials shared their concerns dealing with fireworks safety as the Fourth of July approaches.

The American tradition of fireworks on the Fourth of July gets many people excited. But for emergency workers, it’s a time to be concerned.

“These dangerous items are illegal, explosive devices, powerful enough to cause amputations and death,” said Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Jack Wagner.

Statistics show, from 2011 to 2013, there were 9,600 emergency room visits in the U.S. because of injuries caused by fireworks–26 percent of those cases involved kids 15 years of age and younger.

“But the statistics are not just numbers, they represent the lives of real people. Individuals who are neighbors, who are our friends, and equally important, they are our children,” said William F. Goodard, III, Metropolitan Fire Chiefs.

Doctors say damage will include eye injuries with life-lasting effects.

“We’re talking about bad injuries and a large percentage of them cause permanent loss of vision,” said Dr. Dean Fiergang, pediatric ophthalmologist.

When it comes to illegal fireworks, there are many–including M80s and M100s–that could not only harm you, but get you in trouble with the law.

“Possession and/or use is a felony in Maryland with a penalty of up to 25 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000,” Wagner said.

“However, the safe and cleanest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public firework display,” one official said.

Last year in Maryland, there were 19 structure fires caused by fireworks, costing $1.7 million in damage.

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