July is National Fireworks Safety Month
Fireworks caused over 12,000 injuries in 2017, with half involving children and teens, which required medical treatment. During the weeks around the 4th of July, the risk of an accident is highest, as 67% of fireworks-related injuries occurred from June 16 to July 16—so no wonder July is National Fireworks Safety Month. While illegal fireworks and use of professional-grade products by amateurs represent the greatest danger, legal fireworks and products like sparklers and smaller firecrackers can also be harmful.
Lighting fireworks on Independence Day or any time carries a high risk of injury and fire. Each year, they start 1,300 structure fires and 300 vehicle fires. Considering sparklers burn at roughly 2,000°F, it’s not hard to imagine the damage they can cause; sparklers also account for a quarter of all emergency room visits for fireworks injuries.
An accident can result in anything from severe burns and lacerations to eye injuries, impacts by debris, and loss of limbs as well as permanent scars. The user isn’t the only one at risk. A bystander, neighbor, or casual onlooker can be injured too.
Fireworks Safety Tips
Most fireworks injuries happen at home. But you can reduce the chances of personal injury to you or someone in your family by following these safety tips:
- Don’t use illegal fireworks: M-Class fireworks are the most dangerous and include M-80s, which were designed for military use and are very powerful explosives. State laws vary on fireworks use, but often legal items such as bottle rockets and roman candles can be very dangerous. Check that any fireworks you buy are legal in your state and that they are consumer-grade.
- Always maintain a safe distance: The farther away you are, the less the chances of being injured in case of a malfunction. When you’re lighting the fuse, no part of your body should be directly over the device. And don’t try to relight or pick up fireworks that don’t ignite; remember, they are still hot and remain a hazard.
- Keep a water bucket, hose, or fire extinguisher nearby: You can avoid fires and accidents by having these safeguards around just in case. Having water handy also enables you to extinguish fireworks that don’t work properly. The situation can quickly get out of control, so only light one at a time.
- Always have adult supervision: If an older child is near fireworks or holding a sparkler, an adult should be supervising them, with injury prevention in mind. Younger children should never be allowed to handle fireworks of any kind.
- Never use fireworks in unsafe conditions: This includes if you are indoors; fireworks should always be lit outdoors, away from your house, vehicles, and objects. The potential for disaster is too high (and the noise indoors could damage loved ones’ ears). And never light fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Take as much precaution as possible: Make sure you’re not wearing any flammable material, and use protective eyewear to avoid injury from flying debris that may be extremely hot. It also helps to perform safety checks before attempting to light fireworks.
- Soak fireworks in water for several hours before disposing of them: They can burn at thousands of degrees. Just one hot ember can trigger a major fire.
What You Should Do If You Are Injured by Fireworks
Someone injured as a spectator or using a malfunctioning firework may recover damages with the help of an attorney experienced in fireworks injury law. Liable parties can include fireworks companies, cities, and manufacturers, even if an injured person misused a device. If you or a loved one have been injured, consider contacting our Los Angeles personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options. The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani is open during the coronavirus pandemic to start your case and get the compensation you deserve. Call 888-952-2952 for a free consultation.