If you plan to celebrate the start of 2013 with fireworks, make sure you’re aware of the risks and safety precautions. Fireworks, both professional and personal, are an inevitable part of every New Year’s Eve celebration. But they can be as dangerous as they are beautiful if you’re not careful – especially if illegal or homemade fireworks are involved, say personal injury attorneys in Jacksonville and Orlando. Consider these statistics from the American Pyrotechnics Association, National Council on Firework Safety and Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- There were four fireworks-related deaths reported in 2011 involving illegal or homemade fireworks;
- Fireworks cause 9,300 serious injuries in the U.S. each year;
- 40% of fireworks-related injuries are caused by illegal fireworks;
- 400 Americans lose sight in one or both eyes due to fireworks each year;
- 46% of fireworks-related injuries are to the hands and fingers, 17% affect the eyes;
- Fireworks mishaps cause 20,000 fires nationwide each year;
- 14% of fireworks-related injuries are to children age 15 and younger.
Even seemingly harmless fireworks products can cause serious injury. The ever-popular sparkler can burn at 2,000 F – as hot as a blowtorch and high enough to melt some metals. Sparklers cause 17% of all fireworks-related injuries, and half of the victims are children four years old and younger. To protect your family, make sure the fireworks you choose are legal in your area and are not homemade. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, and make sure that a responsible adult supervises teens using them. Light fireworks one at a time, back up to a safe distance immediately when a firework ignites, and never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. What looks like a dud can simply take a little longer to ignite or blow than expected. Always keep a bucket of water or working water hose handy to quickly put out accidental fires. Be sure to douse all burned fireworks with water before throwing them away, as smoldering devices can re-ignite and set trash or debris alight. If you or your dependents are injured by fireworks, get medical care immediately. If possible, have someone collect and preserve the firework, and contact an experienced product liability and personal injury attorney. Reach Harrell and Harrell, P.A. at 800-251-1111. From the Harrell and Harrell staff, have a safe and happy New Year!