Summer is a time to enjoy warm nights and to spend time celebrating with friends and family. While food, fun, and fireworks can make up a memorable night, fireworks can come with their own risks. Even though the number of large-scale fireworks-related injuries is fairly low, the majority of injuries result from home use. In fact, in 2014 alone it was estimated that approximately 10,500 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospitals, with approximately seven people dying from direct impact.
Any activity making use of fire and explosives will be a dangerous one. Common injuries caused by fireworks can include, but are not limited to:
- Minor burns
- Major burns
- Loss of eyesight
- Serious lacerations
The extent of damage caused by fireworks does not end there, however, as fireworks can cause serious damage to surrounding property as well as nearby individuals.
While a sky full of fireworks can be awe-inspiring, if handled incorrectly, it can also be incredibly hazardous. Some common mistakes people make when handling fireworks include:
- Improperly lighting the fireworks
- Lighting fireworks too close to other people
- Aiming fireworks at other people
- Lighting fireworks while gripped in one’s hand
- Lighting fireworks on unsteady ground
While there are plenty of ways for individuals to make mistakes when using fireworks, injuries can still happen as a result of manufacturing designs or inadequate warnings. Regardless of the type of defect, the use of malfunctioning fireworks can lead to a variety of injuries. Faulty fuses can lead to injuries through either premature or delayed explosions, which can seriously injure unprepared persons. In addition, airborne fireworks can take unanticipated trajectories, leading to injuries or damage to surrounding persons or property, including vehicles, yards, and even homes.
While there is no way to completely eliminate the hazards associated with fireworks, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the risk of injury to yourself and those around you.
As with any endeavor involving explosives, it is important to check with your local laws to make sure that the use of fireworks is not prohibited. While checking the state regulations is important, many counties may have even stricter regulations, and what may be acceptable in one county might not be acceptable in another.
In addition to local laws, it is important to be aware of the guidelines provided with each firework. As mentioned above, improper use of fireworks can lead to a variety of injuries ranging from mild to severe.
It is common sense to allow only sober and competent adults to use or operate fireworks. It goes without saying that an intoxicated individual using fireworks is a danger to himself and others.
While most people might know to aim fireworks away from others, accidents can still happen. In order to avoid any accidents, it is important to ensure that any area you use fireworks in is clear of other people, or at the very least, that you are not aiming fireworks in the direction of people.
While it would be unreasonable for everyone who uses fireworks at home to wear full-scale burn-proof attire, there are simple things you can do in order to add some extra protection. Some things you can do include using earplugs to protect your ears, safety goggles to protect against any stray sparks, and an appropriately graded fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand or water in order to douse any stray flames that may result from the use of the fireworks.
While no one would want anything to go wrong when using fireworks, accidents can happen at any time. Once injury happens, however, the next big question is who is responsible. While there are several factors involved in the analysis, generally, the issue will come down to a matter of either negligence or of malfunction.
The injury of another, especially with incendiary devices such as fireworks, can lead to serious consequences. In the event of injury resulting from a person’s negligence, that person will likely be held responsible in court should the injured party bring a suit against him or her.
Just as the occurrence of an accident is unpredictable, so too is the quality of fireworks in question. It is important to make sure you purchase fireworks from trusted providers. In the event of injury or damages caused by malfunction, you would be able to bring a suit against the seller for selling a defective product or against the manufacturer of the firework for producing a faulty object.