Fireworks Safety: Know the Dark Side of These Lights
Can you even think of a Fourth of July celebration that didn’t involve fireworks? The explosive and colorful night-time displays are the main event, with the possible exception of delicious food. Although they can be the center of excitement, fireworks can also be the cause of injury and possibly even death.
Within the United States, there are about 9,125 injuries and four deaths related to fireworks each year. Understanding your options post injury or accident is very important. Read below to learn more about what you can do and how to prevent hazardous situations.
Most injuries caused by the celebratory explosives are caused by consumer misuse. Causes may include improperly lighting the fireworks, lighting them too close to others, or lighting them while still in a one’s hand. However, manufacturing problems have also been known to cause problems as they might go off sooner than intended, explode in an improper way, or take off in an unanticipated direction.
Safety Precautions from the National Council of Firework Safety
Here is a list of things to know from the National Council of Firework Safety before you go lighting up the nighttime sky:
- Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks. Although fireworks are now legal in New Jersey, there are a few that are still illegal, such as bottle rockets, firecrackers, and roman candles.
- 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 lighting 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 garden 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 placing them 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.
Your Legal Options
If you are an injured spectator, you may be able to hold the person or fireworks company lighting them liable through negligence. The blame may also go as far as the business, county, or entity that hired the fireworks company, as they failed to properly supervise the event and protect bystanders from injury.
If you are injured as either a spectator or a person setting the fireworks off, you may be able to claim liability on the manufacturer, whoever imported the fireworks (if they were a foreign brand), or the retailer who sold them. This can be a result of a defect produced in the firework, or the lack of warnings/direction to properly set it off. Overall, if a victim of a firework injury can prove there was a defect or lack of instructions over their negligence, they should be able to recover money for their damages.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in New Jersey due to a firework accident over the holiday, or at any time, give us a call. This should be a time for celebration, and at the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we can get you the compensation you deserve for such a horrible accident.