JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Six-year-old Uriel Sung played with sparklers with his brother Eugene, left, while waiting for the fireworks show at Magic Island on the Fourth of July.
Fireworks injuries fall sharply
The state Department of Health said hospitals treated 18 cases of injuries due to fireworks on the Fourth of July, a 68-percent drop from last year, when 57 injuries were reported.
The decrease reverses a two-year trend that saw the number of Fourth of July fireworks injuries nearly double each year since 2003.
Two hospitals on Oahu had not reported their final fireworks injury numbers by Friday, said Dan Galanis, an epidemiologist with the injury prevention section of the Department of Health. But in checking with the hospitals by phone, Galanis said he did not expect the number of injuries to change.
Of the 18 injuries, nine were reported by neighbor island hospitals, five of those cases on the Big Island.
The number of neighbor island cases was roughly the same last year, Galanis said, so the decrease in injuries was on Oahu, where Honolulu police had announced a crackdown on illegal fireworks use and drinking in public parks.
Galanis said it was difficult to say whether publicity over enforcement of fireworks laws contributed to fewer injuries this year.
He said he hoped the reason was that "people are actually using fireworks more responsibly and more conservatively."
State law requires hospitals to report fireworks-related injuries to the Department of Health shortly after the Fourth of July.