Independence Day is a time to celebrate our country and what better way than with fireworks. Each year, thousands of people and usually children and teenagers are injured while using fireworks. Unfortunately most people do not realize the dangers associated with consumer fireworks. Risks associated with fireworks include devastating burns, fires, or even death. According to the NFPA, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. But sparklers are safe right? Absolutely not. Sparklers can get up to 1200 degrees which is hot enough to cause third-degree burns. That temperature is equivalent to a blow torch.
In 2015, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,900 people for fireworks related injuries. Among those injuries, 51% were to the extremities and 41% were to the head. Sparklers alone accounted for more than one-quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries.
By Body Part
- Hand of Finger – 36%
- Head, Face or Ear – 19%
- Eye – 19%
- Truck of Other – 11%
- Arm – 5%
- 25-44 years old– 34%
- 5-9 years old – 15%
- 10-14 years old – 11%
- 15-19 years old – 11%
- 45-65 years old – 9%
- 0-4 years old – 9%
Firework Safety Tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety
- Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
- A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
- Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
- Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
- FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
- Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
And let’s not forget the safety of our pets!
- Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one.
- If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.
- Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display.
- Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets.
TNT Red, White and Blue Smoke fireworks are supposed to emit colorful smoke and not supposed to explode. This fireworks company recalled 36,100 units in four states including Illinois. There have been multiple reports that the devices exploded after being lit.
Rights regarding a Fireworks Injury
The majority of injuries caused by fireworks are from the misuse of consumers. However, if you are a spectator at a fireworks show or the user of a malfunctioning firework, victims may be able to recover damages for their injuries. If you have suffered burns from fireworks, you may want to contact a personal injury attorney for advice.
Our attorneys and staff at Sam C. Mitchell & Associates wish you a safe and Happy Fourth of July!