California Firework Accidents Can Cause Serious Burn Injuries
I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton injury lawyer. Every year, local city officials and others remind the public that fireworks should only be handled by professionals. Severe burn injuries and fires often result when others try to light firecrackers and run firework displays for their own pleasure. There are twice as many fires reported on July 4th than on any other day of the year. Accidents involving severe burn injuries also spike around this holiday.
Furthermore, 90% of the injuries people incur requiring emergency room treatment involve fireworks sold directly to consumers. While it’s always best to simply allow firework professionals to light up displays, the following warnings are shared here since so many people still insist on personally using these dangerous materials.
Firework Safety Tips for Responsible Adults
- Only purchase fireworks from a licensed booth. Legal sellers should have a State Fire Marshall seal posted on their booths;
- Always read the directions. Those who quickly light their fireworks without first reading about how to use them are the ones most likely to be seriously injured;
- Don’t let any children personally light fireworks. However, if you’re going to ignore this warning, at least have one or more adults carefully supervise the children. Keep in mind that sparkler tips burn at a temperature higher than 1200 degrees;
- Fireworks must only be lit far away from nearby people or objects. No one should light them anywhere near buildings/structures, people, vehicles or any flammable materials;
- Immediately back far away from fireworks after lighting them. People are often severely harmed when fireworks shoot off in unexpected directions;
- Wear closed-toe shoes. It’s too easy to be burned by firecrackers once they’ve been lit;
- Leave all pets at home. Their heightened sense of hearing makes the sound of fireworks deeply upsetting to many of them. Don’t just bring them along and lock them up in your car – they belong at home where it’s safe and quiet;
- Keep a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher or a connected hose handy. Remember, it’s NEVER safe to try and re-use or re-light a “dud” firecracker;
- Take the time to properly dispose of your firework materials. Be sure to always douse your used fireworks with water;
- Legal fireworks booths can only operate between June 28th and midnight July 4th. If you see a both selling items prior to that date (or after the fourth), do not buy from them.
What Are “Dangerous” Fireworks?’
The state of California provides a very lengthy and detailed description of the different types of firework products designated as “dangerous” under Section 12505 of the California Health and Safety Code. The fireworks are described in terms of their chemical components (and size) – as well as by such descriptive names as “roman candles,” “chasers,” and “torpedoes” that explode on impact.
Common Firework Injuries – Sustained Separate & Apart from Fires
- Burns to the hands, arms, and other body parts
- Various eye injuries
- Cuts to the hands and fingers
- Facial injuries
- Amputated fingers, arms, legs
- Loss of hearing – or greatly impaired hearing
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