Fireworks 101: How to Safely Enjoy 4th of July

by | Jun 23, 2014 | Product Liability

It’s that time of year again, 4th of July, generally a lazy summer day with a family cookout that likely ends with a fireworks display.  Although fireworks are a part of our country’s history and culture, serious personal injuries are frequent.  In fact, over 9,300 people need to seek medical attention for firework injuries every year and the explosives result in 20,000 fires every year.  Many cities in Oklahoma including Oklahoma City and Norman do not allow lighting of fireworks inside their city limits and hold public fireworks displays instead.

A Quick Look at Firework Injury Statistics

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The fireworks industry is big, accounting for over $940 million in revenue every year.  However, many users may not be engaging in safety practices, as the following firework injury statistics from the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) show:

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So, what type of firework causes the most injury?  While many people think larger and more complicated fireworks would top the list of reported firework injuries, it’s actually the generic “firecracker” that causes the most damage, according to the APA:

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Others with smaller percentages included Roman candles and reloadable mortars. Bottle rockets, cherry bombs and M-80s are not allowed in Oklahoma.

Common Sense Safety Tips

If you live in a community where fireworks are allowed, follow these safety tips to reduce the number of firework injuries:

  • Use fireworks outdoors only.
  • Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  • Always keep a bucket of water or a working water hose nearby.
  • Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated adult shooter.”
  • Do not use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives — they can kill you!
  • Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.
  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Read and follow all instructions on the label.

It’s important to use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.

Firework Accidents Happen

Regardless of how careful someone is handling fireworks, the reality of the situation is that accidents happen.  This can be due to human error, a manufacturing defect or both.  Every injury will be based upon the facts and circumstances of the situation.

If you’ve been injured during a fireworks display, contact an experienced product liability attorney to review your situation, evaluate your legal options and determine whether you might be entitled to compensation in the form of medical expenses, lost income, physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, damage to property and more.