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Article 2 (June 2019): The most dangerous fireworks of all

June 27, 2019
Shell-and-mortar fireworks cause the highest number of injuries, and the most serious, to those who should know better:  Adults.
              
More than 85 percent of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries are by adults who used shell-and-mortar type fireworks.  Nearly 40 percent of all fireworks injuries come from these devices, according to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.
 
Although banned in many states, they are nonetheless widely available.
                
Shell-and-mortar devices usually make the most dramatic displays of large blooms with or without starry effects.
              
The shell is launched from a mortar.  The mortar might be a short, steel pipe with a lifting charge of black powder that explodes in the pipe to launch the shell.  When the lifting charge fires to launch the shell, it lights the shell's fuse.  The shell's fuse burns while the shell rises to its correct altitude, and then ignites the bursting charge so it explodes.
              
The problem with shell-and-mortar devices is that when they fail, they can cause serious injuries.  If they are used improperly they can cause bad injuries.
              
The most notorious recent case was of a Montana man, who foolishly held the mortar over his head and lit the fuse.  According to The Seattle Times, the mortar failed and the shell never left the tube.  However, it did explode. He lost four fingers.  He had a toe removed to replace one of his thumbs.
              
Not all injuries happen because of foolish acts. Simply checking to see why an explosive didn't fire can be deadly. Always stay away from duds and spray thoroughly with water. Mortars can also misfire and send a shell in unexpected directions.
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