Every year, in the days leading up to and after the Fourth of July, millions of Americans celebrate by attending professional fireworks displays. Thousands launch their own backyard pyrotechnics, often with more enthusiasm than common sense, leading to fires, injuries, and even deaths.
According to the National Safety Council, fireworks mishaps cause an average of 18,500 fires a year, as well as thousands of serious injuries annually. Many of the injuries result from amateurs attempting to use professional-grade or illegal fireworks, but others involve supposedly “safe” products such as sparklers and small firecrackers. Data collected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that more than a third of those injured are children under the age of 15.
The safest approach to the fireworks problem is not to engage in home “shows” at all. Leave the razzle-dazzle to the professionals. But with pandemic and social distancing concerns prompting the cancellation of countless public events (as well as potential wildfire worries), many may be tempted to celebrate at home. If you’re determined to bring in the Fourth with a bang, here are some tips for keeping all the celebrants safe.
The first step is to educate yourself about what type of consumer fireworks are legal to use in your municipality. Many cities, including Denver and Colorado Springs, ban just about any kind of device that explodes or leaves the ground. Novelty items, such as poppers, may be allowed, but Colorado Springs bans any device that requires a flame for ignition, and that means no sparklers or ground spinners, either.
Avoid fireworks sold in plain brown paper at roadside stands; such items may be designed for professional use only. Unless you want to risk a hefty fine, skip anything that is banned in your area, and always follow these essential guidelines:
- Never allow young children near any fireworks, and older children should always be under adult supervision.
- Never use any fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- Never hold lighted fireworks in your hand, light them indoors, or point them at another person.
- Never ignite devices in a container.
- Never try to relight malfunctioning fireworks; instead, soak them in water and throw them away. (Keep a bucket of water handy for emergencies.)
- Protective eye wear is recommended for anyone using or standing near fireworks.
THE MYTH OF “SAFE” FIREWORKS
Many fireworks enthusiasts see nothing wrong in letting children play with the most basic types of fireworks, including poppers and sparklers. But sparklers burn at around 2000 degrees and can cause severe burns, while other “harmless” explosions can affect hearing or cause other injuries. Sparklers alone account for a quarter of fireworks-related emergency room visits — and half the total injuries suffered by children under the age of five.
If some home-grown spectacle is absolutely necessary this Fourth of July, consider safer alternatives, such as glow sticks. Or try a virtual Fourth of July experience online; like a lot of options these days, it’s less trouble than the real thing.
THE CONSUMER SAFETY LAWYERS AT FDAZAR
For more than thirty-five years the injury attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Thornton, Fort Collins, Greeley, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. Please call the consumer safety attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 720-372-2824 or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.