Only a few things can capture the splendor of an Independence Day celebration as a fireworks display. Along with hot dogs, hamburgers and apple pie, fireworks are very much a tradition and an integral part of any July 4 festivity. Even though they may seem harmless enough, fireworks can create a situation that may soon turn into a horrible tragedy. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s report in 2014, 11 consumers were killed that year, up from eight in the previous year. More than 10,000 people were also injured in the United States as a result of fireworks-related incidents.
The Danger of Fireworks
In 2013, 11,000 were injured in similar incidents. Three of the victims who died were not even present in the location where the fireworks were lit. The CPSC report states that a 19-year-old woman died from smoke inhalation after a sparkler was thrown into a window and ignited a fire inside her home. In another incident, an elderly couple died in a house fire when debris from a neighbor’s fireworks ignited their home.
Also, last year, children under 15 experienced the highest rate of injury. In 2014, sparklers and rockets accounted for nearly a quarter of all estimated fireworks injuries nationwide. Danger from fireworks has become a harsh and unfortunate reality for Americans on July 4.
Staying Safe on the Fourth
Those choosing to use fireworks this weekend would be well advised to exercise extreme caution. Here are a few steps you can take to stay safe and have fun:
- Make sure the fireworks you want to buy are legal in your area.
- Do not allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks including sparklers. These are still dangerous devices that burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals.
- If your fireworks are wrapped in brown paper, it often means they are meant to be used in professional displays. They are too dangerous for your backyard. Do not buy them.
- Keep a bucket or garden hose handy in case of a fire.
- Do not point or throw fireworks at a person, vegetation or a structure.
- Keep body parts away from fireworks when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance after you light fireworks.
- Do not reignite malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them in water before disposing them.
- Light fireworks one at time and then move away from them quickly. After a fireworks item has completed burning, douse it with plenty of water before discarding to prevent a trash fire.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a fireworks-related accident due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, please contact an experienced Rhode Island personal injury lawyer who can help you better understand your legal rights and options. You may be able to seek compensation for damages including destruction of property, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, hospitalization, pain and suffering and emotional distress. We wish everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July! To schedule a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation, please call us toll free at 1-800-992-6878.