Kim Fulton is a NZME. News Service regional reporter

More than 50 Bay of Plenty injuries from fireworks

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Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty people made 16 claims for firework-related injuries last year.
Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty people made 16 claims for firework-related injuries last year.

Bay of Plenty people have hurt themselves with fireworks more than 50 times over the past three years.

The upcoming festivities have sparked a warning from the New Zealand Fire Service urging people to stay safe.

Fireworks sales began on Wednesday and must end on Saturday.

Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty people made 16 claims for firework-related injuries last year, according to ACC. The claims were worth a total of $2,377.

The data relates to claim forms mentioning the words Guy Fawkes and fireworks.

In 2014 they made 12 claims worth $4430. In 2013 they made 23 claims worth $5548.

Fire Service spokesman Todd O'Donoghue said there was a significant increase in unnecessary fires, damage to property, and people being injured through the misuse of fireworks during the Guy Fawkes period.

"The New Zealand Fire Service recommends people attend public fireworks displays.

"However, if people choose to purchase fireworks we advise them to read and follow the manufacturer's safety advice."

Last year, the New Zealand Fire Service attended 325 fireworks related fires across the country - the majority in November when New Zealanders celebrated Guy Fawkes.

Mr O'Donoghue advised people to light their fireworks in open spaces away from anything flammable, and to keep a bucket of water or hose handy.

"A single irresponsible act with fireworks can lead to a huge loss of property and/or a lifetime dealing with burns and scars for some people - even through no fault of their own," he said.

Nationwide, there were 498 claims for fireworks-related injuries last year. Those claims were worth $234,347.

In 2014, there were 441 claims worth $248,710 and in 2013 there were 493 claims worth $274,980.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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