The 4th of July is almost upon us, that wonderful summer holiday featuring picnics, patriotic parades and of course, fireworks. All of us at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers want everybody to have fun on the 4th and to be safe, especially around fireworks.
Despite annual public safety warnings about the hazards of fireworks, the number of accidents related to their use and requiring emergency room visits consistently skyrockets on the 4th of July. As the 4th falls on a Saturday this year, festivities are apt to continue throughout the entire weekend, promising to keep emergency rooms here and elsewhere else hopping on Saturday and Sunday as well.
Many of these admissions will be for burns and other injuries caused by negligent handling of fireworks, and unfortunately, a good number of the victims with the most serious injuries will be children, ages 14 and under.
Children and Fireworks
In 2010, there were approximately 2,500 fireworks-related injuries nation-wide among children, ages 14 and under.
Sparklers are associated with the greatest number of injuries to children because many parents mistakenly believe that sparklers are perfectly “safe”, even for young children to hold.
In fact, sparklers burn at extremely high temperatures –as hot as 1800-3000° F, depending on the type of fuel and oxidizer used—temperatures more than sufficient to cause severe burns of igniting clothing.
Our St. Louis personal injury lawyers put together a list of safe firework celebration tips for you and your family to reference this holiday.
After all… a hospital emergency room is the last place that you want to spend your 4th of July!
Safety Tips for Handling of Fireworks
- Never allow children to touch fireworks of any kind, including sparklers, even after they have “gone off”. They are dangerously hot and the debris from them can cause serious injury.
- Older teens should use fireworks only under the close supervision of adults who are not intoxicated.
- Drinking and drug use should never be combined with fireworks! Never allow someone who is intoxicated or impaired to handle fireworks.
- Obey your municipality’s laws governing fireworks.
- If allowed in your area, buy only from reliable sellers.
- Always store fireworks in a dry, cool place, away from heaters, flames or any flammable substances such as petrol, oil or paint. Ideally keep fireworks in their original packaging or wrapped up tightly. Lock them up in order to ensure that children and animals cannot gain access to them. Do not store fireworks where they can become damp because condensation can cause fireworks to self-ignite.
- Never smoke while handling fireworks!
- Never use fireworks in an indoor setting (while this may seem self-evident, firecrackers are sometimes tossed onto a porch or inside a house as a “joke”, and sparklers are sometimes given to children in an indoor setting). Indoor use creates a fire and smoke hazard.
- Never light more than one firework at a time.
- Never lean over a firework while lighting it. Clear away from a lit firework!
- Keep a good supply of water (hose and bucket) on hand in the event of an emergency.
- Make sure that all people, especially children, as well as pets are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Never light a firework in a container, especially metal or glass.
- Never throw or point a firework at anybody.
- Never relight a “dud” firework as it may explode unexpectedly.
- Never light fireworks around houses, buildings, dried leaves and, grass or anyplace where they could start a fire. This is especially true in many areas of the country that are suffering from drought.
- Place “spent” fireworks, especially sparklers, in sand or water.
- Never use sparklers around other fireworks, especially those that have not been ignited, as their sparks can cause them to explode.
St. Louis Premises Liability Claims
As we said, we certainly hope nobody from your family has to spend Fourth of July in the hospital, but if someone is injured at your Independence Day party, the medical bills will follow soon after. Typically, patients supply their health insurance information when going to the hospital, but the homeowners insurance may also cover some of the costs.
It can be extremely stressful to deal with a friend’s homeowner’s insurance policy. Sometimes, people are afraid that they’re going after their friend. (We hear similar stories from passengers in car accidents quite regularly). Remember, insurance companies are there to protect their insured. Don’t feel guilty for talking to a lawyer.
We’re not here to burn bridges with your friend. Personal injury lawyers just try to come to an agreement that’s in the best interest of all parties involved.
We hope you all have a safe and happy Independence Day! If anything happens, call us at 314-444-4444.