Fireworks have been an important part of Independence Day for as long as our nation has been in existence. Many Americans see Fourth of July fireworks as a patriotic duty, while others treat the displays as a family tradition. Fireworks can range from consumer grade products, such as small-scale sparklers and firecrackers, to powerful professional grade fireworks. If not handled correctly, fireworks can lead to severe personal injury.
Dangers of Fireworks
Many incidents happen around Fourth of July celebrations. In 2017, eight people died and over 12,000 required medical treatment after incidents involving fireworks, according to the National Safety Council. Most of these accidents involved amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade, or illegally obtained fireworks. However, many of the incidents involved common consumer fireworks.
In addition, the National Fire Protection Association reports that more fires are reported on the Fourth of July than on any other day of the year. Fireworks and associated mishaps are largely responsible for this uptick. In fact, about 18,500 fires occur each year from fireworks.
Access to Fireworks
It is tempting to participate in the festivities with your own fireworks. In some states, consumer grade products are legal. Common types of fireworks are:
- Sparklers: Hand held sticks with an oxidizer and fuel coated metal that emit a sparkling white light.
- Firecrackers: Flash powder wrapped in paper with a fuse that makes a loud bang when lit.
- Roman candles: Paper tube filled with multiple shells designed to be placed in the ground and shoots the flaming shells out of the tube when lit.
Before handling any type of firework, it is important to realize that these are inherently dangerous products. If you are going to handle them, be sure to do so with proper care. Only handle consumer grade products that are legally sold according to your state’s laws. The following are instructions to use as a precaution to prevent fires and burns:
- Use away from people, pets, houses, and flammable materials
- Wear protective eyewear
- Light one at a time and move a safe distance away after lighting
- Keep a bucket of water nearby to extinguish fireworks that do not go off or in case of fire
- Soak used fireworks in water before disposal
Do not light fireworks indoors or in a container. Avoid attempting to relight fireworks that malfunctioned or misfired. It is best not to allow a minor access to any fireworks, even legal consumer grade fireworks. However, if you choose to allow it, be sure it is under close supervision. Only use fireworks sold legally from a reputable source. It is best to leave professional-grade fireworks to the professionals, since they are trained to handle these products.
Delaware County Personal Injury Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Advocate for Victims Harmed in Firework Accidents
If you or a loved one was injured in a firework mishap, fire, or other accident, an experienced Delaware County personal injury lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. is available to provide assistance and legal advice. Call us today at 610-565-3701 or complete an online form today for a free consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.