THE Southern Trust has reported the largest decrease in firework-related injuries in 2011 out of any of the Northern Ireland Trusts.
In 2007, 36 people attended an Accident and Emergency Department seeking treatment for a firework related injury, while in 2011, seven people attended.
While this is encouraging news, the message of fireworks safety has yet to fully impact upon young males aged 11-18 years, who are still the most likely group to be injured.
The most common site of injury remains the wrist or hand representing 53.6% of all injuries. Other injury sites include the eye, face or neck, the arm and the foot or leg. Injuries from fireworks can cause very serious damage to hands, face and eyes which can leave scarring and permanent damage. Across Northern Ireland the number of injuries among young children aged between 0-5 years halved while injuries to children aged 6-10 years fell by two thirds.
Melanie Clements, Assistant Director of Promoting Wellbeing with the Southern Trust, said, “We are delighted that the numbers of people with a firework related injury has decreased. The Southern Trust works with the Community Safety Partnerships across the Southern area. These partnerships led by Councils include the PSNI, Fire Service, Southern Education and Library Board and the Public Health Agency.
“Together we address many issues to improve the safety of individuals and communities. We have a particular focus on Halloween and develop a range of programmes to improve community awareness, reduce accidents and injuries and facilitate programmes that engage with young people.
Melanie added, “In addition the Southern Trust’s Promoting Wellbeing Team coordinates two projects aimed at improving awareness around fireworks safety. The Alex and Connie Home Safety Puppet show delivers fireworks safety messages in the form of stories to primary schools and community based organisations.
“During 2010-2011, 1531 children across the Southern Trust saw a performance of the Alex and Connie Home Safety Puppet show. While the Safe Home for Me www.safehome4me.com web resource provides safety advice on fireworks and sparklers to children, parents and carers.”
Fireworks injuries are avoidable if fireworks are used safely and legally. Everyone should be able to enjoy a fireworks display in safety. For more information on firework safety, go to: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/fireworks