This study looked to determine the safety of air cannons used at public events based on experimentally collected ballistic data. Specifically, the probable injuries to bystanders resulting from being hit by various projectiles launched from air cannons were investigated. Due to the rapid deceleration of projectiles fired from air cannons as they travel through the air, this study focuses on the worst case scenario: point blank impacts. Based on data collected using a chronograph and force plate, this study asserts that it is likely an air cannon operating under the conditions of this experiment can cause significant ocular, maxillofacial, laryngeal, and extremity injuries. To mitigate the risks posed by using air cannons, this study recommends the use of safety glasses for operators, mandatory operator training, automatic trigger locking mechanisms, frequent inspections of the cannon, regulations on the projectiles that can be fired, and the establishment of a minimum firing distance between the operator and bystanders.

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