New Year’s Non-Cork Popping

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (formerly and lovingly known as the Centers for Disease Control) have/has issued a statistics-based safety reminder for New Year’s Eve celebrants. The full report appears in the December 24, 2004 issue of MMWR. Here are some highlights:

New Year’s Eve Injuries Caused by Celebratory Gunfire — Puerto Rico, 2003

Bullets fired into the air during celebrations fall with sufficient force to cause injury and death (1). However, few data exist regarding the epidemiology of injuries related to celebratory gunfire. In Puerto Rico, where such celebratory actions are common, news media reports have indicated that approximately two persons die and an estimated 25 more are injured each year from celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve. The Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDOH) invited CDC and local law enforcement agencies to assist in the investigation of injuries resulting from celebratory gunfire that occurred during December 31, 2003–January 1, 2004. This report summarizes the findings of that investigation….

A probable celebratory gunfire injury was defined as an unintentional firearm injury (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision codes W32–W34 [2]) inflicted outdoors by an unidentified assailant during the 48-hour period beginning 12 a.m., December 31, 2003, and ending 11:59 p.m., January 1, 2004. Available information regarding the injury or event had to be consistent with the return trajectory of a bullet fired into the air….

(Thanks to Kristine Danowski for bringing this to our attention.)