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Rick Goodman and Benita Kolovos
(Australian Associated Press)
Everyone should have a cracker of a night this New Year’s Eve, but it shouldn’t involve fireworks in the backyard, authorities say, after a Melbourne man was badly injured when a cracker hit him in the face.
The man, 49, was rushed to hospital in a critical condition after the mishap at Werribee on Tuesday night.
“Fireworks are banned for a reason,” Ambulance Victoria’s state commander Paul Holman said on Wednesday.
“If you play with fireworks, you have a high danger of being injured, and those injuries are usually horrific.
“You’ll see the incident last night, that gentleman unfortunately is in quite a serious condition.”
A 46-year-old man died in Victoria’s Gippsland region last New Year’s Eve after he tried to blow up illegal crackers.
Another man was killed by fireworks on NSW’s Central Coast that night while more were injured around the country.
An experienced paramedic, Mr Holman thinks illegal fireworks have been on the rise in Victoria in recent years.
“And we are concerned,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
“Leading into New Year’s, fireworks in the hands of anyone other than experts is just a no-no.”
The sale of fireworks is banned across Australia, except for on a single day in the Northern Territory and under tight controls in Tasmania.
It has been illegal for the general public to use fireworks in Victoria since 1982 and backyard cracker-lighters face hefty fines.