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New Hampshire officials are highlighting injury, fire statistics in urging fireworks safety


CONCORD, New Hampshire — Officials from the New Hampshire fire marshal's office are urging residents and visitors alike to use caution in buying and using fireworks as the July Fourth holiday weekend approaches.

They encourage people to buy their fireworks through licensed retail stores in the state and to purchase only the quantity they think they will use.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that on a typical July Fourth holiday, more fires are reported nationwide than on any other day — with fireworks accounting for half. The association says that in 2011, fireworks caused about 17,800 fires resulting in $32 million in property damage.

The most recent report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission notes that 11,400 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries — up 2,700 from 2012. Forty percent of the people injured were under the age of 15.

Some New Hampshire communities require fireworks permits or ban the use of fireworks. Anyone wishing to buy and use fireworks is urged to check with local officials first.

Officials say the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks display, where licensed professional pyrotechnicians are in charge.

Only adults 21 years of age or older are legally allowed to purchase, possess and display permissible fireworks by state law.

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