PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With many fireworks shows around the country having been canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, safety officials are concerned there will be a spike in fireworks-related injuries this summer.
With most shows canceled in the area, the City of Pittsburgh is asking people to avoid creating their own spectacle at home.
Fireworks-related complaints in the city have increased nearly 400% from last year.
From Thursday into Friday, Pittsburgh Public Safety received 85 complaints and responded to three serious fireworks-related incidents.
Due to the rising number of complaints, the city formed a task force to address the use of fireworks.
The task force is made up of Pittsburgh Police and Fire investigators.
The task force will be making its rounds through neighborhoods looking for illegal fireworks.
Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich says he understands people’s frustrations with normal shows not taking place.
“We at Public Safety know that this Fourth of July weekend is not the kind that Pittsburghers are used to,” Hissrich said.
If you do decide to have fun with something like sparklers, you are reminded to be safe.
Sparklers burn at 1200º, hotter than the temperature capable of melting glass.
“Fifty percent of those that get injured are 20-years old or younger. That’s who we see in our emergency departments.” said Brenda Kissinger, EMS Trauma Supervisor from St. Agnes Hospital.
“The younger adults aren’t adhering to the safety precautions of not holding the firework when you’re lighting it or making sure you’re not pointing it at somebody else,” Kissinger said.
Experts say you shouldn’t mix drinking alcohol and playing with any fireworks.
Police also remind the public that it is illegal to set off fireworks within 150 feet of any building.
Anyone could violating this law could face a $100 fine.