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PRESS RELEASE: “Everyday Hero CT” Shares Fireworks Safety Information

EVERYDAY HERO CT SHARES FIREWORKS SAFETY INFORMATION

Volunteer Firefighter Recruitment Campaign Says,

“Leave It To The Professionals”

June 28, 2016 | Cromwell, CT – Fourth of July celebrations are about to begin and, with them, dozens upon dozens of fireworks displays. Although consumer fireworks are legal in Connecticut, the members of the Everyday Hero CT volunteer firefighter recruitment campaign strongly discourage amateurs from using them.

“The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display orchestrated by trained professionals,” says Chief Fred Dudek, Everyday Hero CT program manager. “More fires are reported on July 4th than any other day of the year. And, fireworks are responsible for 40 percent of those fires.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), every July 4th thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage. In 2013, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,400 people for fireworks related injuries; 55 percent of those injuries were to the extremities and 38 percent were to the head.

Injuries caused by fireworks typically require hospital emergency room treatment – they include severe burns, fractures, scars, permanent disfigurement, and even death. It’s important to remember that even sparklers, considered by many to be a safe and harmless alternative to fireworks, reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (water boils at 212 degrees and glass melts at 900 degrees).

The risk of fireworks injury is the highest for children under up to four years old. In 1991, three-year-old Michael Shannon was killed when a legal consumer firework struck him in the head during a July 4th family celebration. He was standing 40 feet away from it, between his mother’s legs where he was presumed safe.

Volunteers Needed

Eighty percent of all fire personnel in Connecticut are volunteers, and the majority of fire departments throughout the state are experiencing a volunteer shortage. Local fire departments need volunteers of all skill levels and abilities, people willing and able to respond to emergencies whenever called upon.

“The skills and experience gained as a volunteer firefighter are invaluable and have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of others,” says Dudek. “Those who join their local fire departments sign up for one of the most rewarding opportunities they’ll ever have.”

About Everyday Hero CT

A partnership of the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association (CFCA) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the Everyday Hero CT campaign is a two-year Volunteer Workforce Solutions (VWS) initiative designed to address the shortage of volunteer firefighters in Connecticut. It is helping achieve a viable and sustainable volunteer firefighter workforce for 15 Connecticut fire departments: Broad Brook Volunteer Fire Department, Cromwell Fire and EMS Department, Gales Ferry Volunteer Fire Company, Gardner Lake Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. (Salem), Greenwich Fire Department, Killingworth Volunteer Fire Department, Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company, Old Mystic Fire Department, Rocky Hill Fire Department, Somers Fire Department, Stamford Volunteer Firefighters Association, Trumbull Volunteer Fire Services, Westfield Fire Department (Middletown), Windsor Volunteer Fire Department, Wolcott Fire Department. Everyday Hero CT is funded by a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant awarded to the CFCA by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop a model to enhance the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. For more information, visit www.EverydayHeroCT.org.

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