July Fourth injuries
jump from last year


Fireworks injuries by isle

Geographic distribution of fireworks injuries:

>> Total injuries: 32
>> Oahu: 25 injuries (78 percent of total)
>> Hawaii: 2 injuries (6 percent)
>> Maui County: 2 injuries -- one on Maui, one on Molokai (6 percent)
>> Kauai: 3 injuries (9 percent)

The number of fireworks-related injuries reported during this year's Fourth of July celebrations in Hawaii nearly doubled last year's total, the state Department of Health reported.

Thirty-two people were treated for fireworks-related injuries at emergency rooms statewide during the holiday weekend, compared with 17 last year -- most of them on Oahu.

According to a survey conducted by the department's Injury Prevention and Control Program, Oahu reported 25 injuries, or 78 percent; Kauai, three injuries, or 9 percent; Maui County, two injuries, or 6 percent; and Hawaii County, two injuries, or 6 percent.

But recent statistics also show that more fireworks permits were issued this year, said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Kenison Tejada. On Oahu, 300 permits were issued for this Fourth of July, up from 179 last year, which could account for the increase in injuries, Tejada said.

The survey, conducted by the Department of Health with the cooperation of hospitals and health centers, does not take into account the number of people who set off fireworks, said Dan Galanis, the department epidemiologist for the Injury Prevention and Control Program who prepared the survey.

Despite the jump in reported injuries, Emergency Medical Service officials said this year's Independence Day was tamer than usual for them.

"It was a really quiet night," said Jason Kaneshiro, an EMS district chief. "We were prepared for much worse."

According to the Health Department survey, only one of the 32 people injured needed to be transported by Emergency Medical Service, and none of the injured was admitted to hospitals, Galanis said.

The Health Department also reported that 97 percent of the injuries were burns. Most of the patients, 71 percent, were injured while igniting or holding the fireworks. Most of the victims, 71 percent, were male.

Eighty percent of the victims were 17 years of age or younger -- below the minimum age of 18 to buy fireworks.


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