Firework Safety in the Wake of Iowa's First Fireworks Death

Jul 13, 2018

Last weekend, an Iowa teenager from Waverly died from injuries sustained during a fireworks accident. He is believed to be the first person killed by consumer explosives in the state since the Iowa Legislature legalized them last year.

In this news buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks to Dr. Chris Buresh, Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Iowa, about this incident and the increase in firework-related injuries this year.

Last year, the University of Iowa saw the rate of fireworks injuries more than double. Bystanders who are watching fireworks are four times as likely to be injured as the person setting them off. The UI  usually sees 8-10 serious injuries each year but saw this figure jump to 21 in the first year of legalization. 

This year, Buresh says they saw similarly high rates of fireworks injuries, including severe burns and damage to hands and fingers.

“Fireworks are dangerous. They’re explosives. And there’s a reason that explosives are used as weapons,” Buresh says.

Also on the program, we hear from Iowa Public Radio reporter Katarina Sostaric about ongoing contract negotiations between Iowa’s Department of Human Services and the managed care organizations that are responsible for administering services for Medicaid patients in the state. Scott Peters, Professor of Political Science at the University of Northern Iowa, joins to talk about Iowa Supreme Court nominations and the future of abortion rights in Iowa.

Later in the hour, Des Moines Register reporter Linh Ta shares about her father Duc Ta, who came to Iowa as a refugee in the 1980s thanks to former governor Robert Ray, who passed away last week. Interim Provost of the University of Iowa Sue Curry talks about closures at the UI, and IPR's Eastern Iowa reporter Kate Payne covers Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Iowa.