HONOLULU — According to the Injury Prevention and Control Program of the Hawai’i State Department of Health (DOH) there were no fireworks-related injuries treated in O’ahu hospitals during this year’s 4th of July period. In the previous eight years (2003 through 2010) that the DOH has monitored fireworks injuries, there was an annual average of 17 such injuries on O’ahu, including 13 injuries among children under 18 years of age.
The current lack of injuries is probably due to the decreased usage of fireworks among O’ahu residents, in accordance with the fireworks ban enacted on January 2 of this year. The legislation bans the use of fountains, sparklers and other novelty fireworks, but does allow for the use of 5,000 firecrackers with the purchase of a permit.
In comparison, there were nine (9) injuries treated at hospital emergency departments on the neighbor islands around the 4th of July: four (4) each on Maui and Hawai’i islands, and one (1) injury on Kaua’i. These nine (9) injuries were the highest combined total for neighbor islands since 2006. The use of fireworks on the neighbor islands is restricted only by the age of the purchaser and the statewide ban of aerial fireworks.
All nine (9) of the patients took private transport to the hospitals, and all patients were eventually discharged from the emergency departments. Their ages ranged from 7 to 27 years, and about half (5, or 56%) were under 18 years of age.
All of the injuries were burns, most commonly burns to the hands (8 injuries). Seven of the injuries occurred on July 4th, and two on July 5th. Five of the injuries on July 4 were sustained between 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Most or all of the patients were injured while setting off or holding the firework (this information was not available for four patients).
The Hawai’i State Department of Health monitors and evaluates injuries reported by emergency rooms and hospitals statewide to develop strategies to prevent and reduce injuries from occurring. For more information on the State’s Injury Prevention Plan go to
Submitted by Dan Galanis, Injury Prevention and Control Section, Department of Health