Mainers may have to wait until 2015 to see whether injuries from consumer fireworks are on the rise.

Maine State Fire Marshal Joe Thomas said he began tracking consumer fireworks injuries in January. He gets the data as part of a larger report each week from emergency medical services transporters.

“There has been no accurate data,” Thomas said. “We had circumstances where we might get a call from a local fire chief where there had been an injury, and we’d investigate that, but there was no substantive data.”

Legislators eased the rules on consumer fireworks in 2012, allowing stores to sell them and residents to light them off legally.

Medical providers, hospitals and medical transporters are not required to file reports on fireworks-related injuries, so Thomas said he had no way to track them.

“All reporting to us by medical professionals is, by the statute, voluntary,” Thomas said. “So I only get in what somebody agrees to forward on to us.”

He tried to get legislators to require mandatory burn-reporting last year. Instead, he worked with Maine hospitals to come up with the current plan.

Maine Emergency Medical Services sends the fire marshal a report every Tuesday listing incidents in which people are transported or treated for burns, smoke inhalation or fireworks-related injuries.

Thomas said he had not yet compiled those incident reports, but he plans to soon after July 4.

“I only have the raw reports,” he said. “They really are nothing to look at right now. For example, I can see that 14 people were treated or transported between Feb. 19 and 24 for fire-related injuries, smoke inhalation, burns or et cetera. And I can see that there is one case in that report where the cause of that injury was fireworks.”

Thomas said he has relied on national statistics on fireworks injuries in the past.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a study last week that found 11,400 fireworks-related injuries nationally in 2013, 2,700 more than in 2012. Almost two-thirds of those injuries occurred in the 30 days surrounding July 4.

“For us, it’s all been hearsay, national trends or a specific call from a local fire chief who went above and beyond,” Thomas  said.

He said it might be a year before he has a enough reports to begin noting trends.

“Also, as I get these weekly, I’ll be able to see if there are actually more injuries around July 4 than other times of the year,” Thomas said.

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