Fireworks SafetyEditor: You have been duped by the...


July 02, 1991

Fireworks Safety

Editor: You have been duped by the National Fire Protection Association into printing an inaccurate editorial that adversely relects upon the legitimate consumer fireworks industry in Maryland and the United States.

The most serious error is the statement that "last year hospitals handled 12,800 fireworks-related injuries, a 28 percent increase over 1989."

Fireworks-related injury reports are monitored by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the NFPA uses these estimates. For 1990, the commission's estimate, based on some 150 actual injury reports, was approximately 12,400 fireworks-related injuries.

The commission changed its method of calculating injury estimates between 1989 and 1990, resulting in an across-the-board increase of injury estimates. Because of this change, the commission strongly warned in all of its 1990 injury study reports that persons should not attempt to make comparisons between the 1990 data and estimates for prior years. The commission's chairman, in an effort to clarify this matter, stated during a press conference in Washington last week that the 1990 fireworks estimate ''does not represent a change over previous years.''

Today's consumer fireworks are far safer than devices that were available to the public in 1941, when Maryland banned consumer fireworks. The injury rate (injuries per million pounds of fireworks discharged) has been cut in half over the past decade, largely through better consumer awareness. The ''menaces'' mentioned in your editorial -- the quarter-sticks and "M-80s" -- are banned nationally, but illegal manufacture and distribution continues.

Consumers should avoid any fireworks device that does not beaa manufacturer's name and cautionary labeling. Illegal and unlabelled explosives are the devices that can kill or maim you.

Sparklers are legal in most of Maryland and can be safely enjoyed by families if a few precautions are taken. Close adult supervision is most important, and we urge that consumers keep a bucket of water in the backyard to place the sparkler wires in when the devices finish burning.

John A. Conkling.


The writer is executive director of the American Pyrotechnics



Editor: In regard to the State of Maryland budget restraints and proposed reductions in force: Would not voluntary early retirements (through incentives) be preferable to involuntary lay-offs?

This plan has been utilized in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

J. F. Lechman.



Editor: What practical purpose is served in labeling a person as an Asian-American, African-American, Hispanic-American, Italian-American or any one of the other dual-titles popular today?

Since the very beginning of this nation every American has stemmed from another race or nationality. What a scenario it would create if they all demanded special recognition!

It's like being a ''little pregnant.'' Either you is or you ain't!

Elizabeth Myers.


Road Blocks

Editor: With so many things in need of fixing, why is the mayor's office trying to wreck something that is working just fine?

The Baltimore Road Runners Club organizes and administers road races throughout the year for members and non-members. The races include the Constellation Classic, St. Patrick's Day Parade and the Ladies Classic (formerly the Lady Equitable).

This non-profit organization donates thousands of dollars from the proceeds to support the restoration of the U.S.F. Constellation, Baltimore Reads program, the Baltimore Zoo and the St. Patrick's Parade. There are many other charities besides these few.

The lack of cooperation from Mayor Schmoke's office has included:

* Refusal to allow the Constellation Classic (10K) to run along Pratt Street to Canton. The city preferred running it up Calvert Street to 31st Street and back on St. Paul Street. Hence, you split the city in half, causing inconvenience to many waiting motorists.

* Rejecting the permit request of the Maryland Marathon and causing the cancellation of our only state-sanctioned marathon race.

* Threatening the Constellation Classic with a route that is too small to support the 3,000-plus runners. When the BRRC protested, the organization was advised it could take the race to Baltimore County.

These are just some examples.

The reasons given by the mayor's office are trivial and disconcerting. The cost factor is nominal if an appropriation is made from the entrance fee.

The former mayor proclaimed, ''Do it now.'' The attitude of those representing Mayor Schmoke is ''Don't do it at all.''

James R. Considine.


After the Fire

Editor: On Memorial Day, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Maryland Chapter, survived a devastating six-alarm fire in our Central Office in the Hillendale Square Building in Towson.

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