Fireworks sales, injuries up in Michigan


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The number of people being injured by fireworks is up in the state of Michigan, according to the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center.

“Fireworks are dangerous. Absolutely. Especially in the wrong hands,” Kentwood Fire Chief Brent Looman said.

The Trauma Burn Center said the number of injuries started to increase two years ago, after Michigan legalized airborne fireworks.

“Read the safety labels. Take a close look at what these are going to do, where these are going to shoot,” Looman said.

Hands and fingers are the body part most often injured, accounting for 41% of fireworks injuries; followed by heads, faces and ears at 19%; torsos at 15%; legs 13%; eyes 12% and arms at 1%, according to U of M.

“They are producing an extreme amount of heat,” Looman said.

But even with the dangers fireworks present, business is booming.

“We have increased yearly. We are up significantly from last year, which was up significantly from the year before. We keep building. We keep opening up stores and they keep doing well,” said Bill Barnes, the Vice President of Pro Fireworks in Grand Rapids.

Pro Fireworks in Grand Rapids. (July 3, 2014)In 2011, the first year airborne fireworks were legal in Michigan, Pro Fireworks opened six stores across the state. Since then, the company has added three more.

“It does slow down quite a bit in January, February, March. We start picking up in the spring and we sell all summer. People love this stuff,” Barnes said.

The Independence Day holiday typically is one of their busiest times of year.

“This time of year people like the big booms, so we’ve got all the big stuff,” Barnes said.

Barnes said firework buyers and the state have both benefited from the loosened laws.

“The pricing has come down significantly because there is competition,” he said. “I think the most important thing is the money is staying in Michigan now. All that tax money is staying right here in Michigan.”

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Online:

U of M on fireworks safety

Inside woodtv.com:

Fireworks shows in West Michigan

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