With Independence Day to kick it off, July is the hottest month for fireworks. On the 4th of July alone, the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) estimates that each year, about 14,000 firework displays explode into the sky. It has been an American tradition since the very first Independence Day, and there is no doubt that it is an ideal way to celebrate. However, when fireworks get into inexperienced hands, they can prove extremely dangerous. So, this year, make sure to take precautions if you choose to handle fireworks. And it is always your safest bet to leave this dangerous work to the pros.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 11,000 people are injured, and at least seven people die each year from firework-related accidents. Emergency rooms are flooded with these victims on the days surrounding the 4th of July, recording a total of about 280 individuals each day. Fireworks, are small (or large) explosives and are therefore inherently dangerous. However, there are some direct causes for injuries and unfortunately, deaths:
Top reasons for firework injuries and fatalities:
- Unanticipated explosions
- Fireworks flying erratically
- Fireworks falling over
- Fireworks detonating too early
- Fireworks that caused a house fire
- Misuse of fireworks
It is also important to note that fireworks can quickly start significant fires. If you live in places prone to drought, you may have experienced a 4th of July or two without a firework display due to a ban that year. And while forgoing this tradition might be a complete disappointment, these sorts of precautions are necessary. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more fires are reported on July fourth than any other day of the year. Additionally, fireworks are to blame for more than 13,000 structural fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 17,000 other types. Beyond their resulting damage, these fires cause thousands of devastating injuries each year. And to make matters worse, it is all entirely preventable.
- Do not allow for fireworks to get in the hands of children. In 2016, children under the age of 15 made up 31% of fireworks-related injuries.
- Allow professional pyrotechnics to handle professional-grade fireworks. These explosives are extremely powerful and are kept from the public for a good reason. Do not overestimate your abilities and remain within your legal limits.
- Know your local laws. Check for fire bans in the case that there is a drought and only purchase legal fireworks.
- Never try to re-light fireworks that do not initially explode. They may seem like a “dud,” but this is not always the case. And a shorter fuse can be extremely dangerous- they are long in order to keep you safe.
- Make sure that nothing obstructs the flight path of a firework. An explosion can be deadly.
- Keep a hose and bucket nearby. Remember, you’re dealing with fire so be prepared in case something goes wrong. Extinguish all used fireworks completely before turning away from them.
- Never use metal or glass containers when setting off fireworks. These could explode into dangerous, flying shards.
This 4th of July, we wish you a safe and fun holiday. Though fireworks are dangerous, there are several ways to celebrate responsibly. However, in the case that a firework injures you due to defective design or a negligent act, we at Peach and Weathers are here for you. We can provide legal counsel and guidance in this frightening time. Call on us for expertise in personal injury law.