The Fourth of July is one of the most celebrated federal holidays in the U.S., but it’s also one of the most dangerous. Plenty of first responders are ready to listen to dozens of phone calls regarding car crashes, drunken fistfights and burn injuries at an annual barbecue.
One of the most common injuries that’s more unique to Independence Day than any other holiday is the usage of fireworks. Every year, thousands of residents suffer from severe burn injuries while trying to impress their family and friends with a light show.
Thanks to a law Pennsylvania made in October 2017 that allows people to buy consumer-grade fireworks in the state, many local medical experts are expecting the injury count to increase. You can avoid a serious burn incident by having the right person light these pyrotechnics up, but first you need to know who should keep their hands off them.
You’d think it would be obvious for families to avoid having children go near these dangerous explosives, but the 2017 Fireworks Annual Report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reveals that 36 percent of the estimated injuries in 2017 were children younger than 15.
Most of these kids aren’t even old enough to purchase fireworks yet, so letting them get close to a Roman candle or allowing them to light a bottle rocket up is just a disaster waiting to happen. If you have any children or are expecting younger relatives to show up at your place, keep these devices out of their sight throughout the entire day and make sure to restrain them at a safe distance once you start launching your fireworks in the evening. Even if they are properly behaved, they can still be unpredictable.
Once your kid turns 18, they can legally purchase fireworks in Pennsylvania. But that doesn’t mean they should start launching them immediately. The CPSC report also reveals that young adults between 20 to 24 had the second highest injury rate. Most of them are still inexperienced with operating these pyrotechnic devices and are unsure what certain ones will end up doing.
Alcohol also plays a large factor in many firework disasters. Given how much young adults make up a large portion of those arrested for DUI, it’s safe to say a large chunk of the injuries likely came from people too intoxicated to know when and where to run away after lighting the explosive.
If young adults are spending the evening at your place to watch the lightshow, keep an eye out if they appear to be confused by the instructions or are too drunk to handle the task. If it is the former, use this opportunity to teach them how to light up fireworks safely so they can do so with minimal problems when they celebrate away from your house. If they are too drunk, keep them away from matches and lighters and launch your fireworks at a safe distance.
Unfortunately, people simply watching the fireworks on the side can suffer if someone reckless tries to handle these devices. If you or a loved one suffer from a fireworks display gone wrong, consult with a premises liability attorney that can help you financially recover from the incident.