As millions of Americans prepare to enjoy a fun family holiday celebrating our nation’s birth, Florida injury lawyers are urging those using fireworks to always put safety before sparklers.
“Please celebrate safely,” notes attorney Bruce L. Scheiner, “No one wants to have such a happy event marred by a negligent or careless accident.”
Each year, injuries resulting from improper use and handling of commonly available fireworks and pyrotechnics turn a family gathering into a catastrophe. With the proliferation of roadside fireworks vendors, and even commercial stores open all year, the opportunities for an accident are plentiful.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety notes that hundreds of fireworks injuries are reported every year, and recommend several safety tips:
1. Use fireworks outdoors only.
2. Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
3. Always have water in a hose or bucket nearby.
4. Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them.
5. Never re-light a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
6. Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
7. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
8. Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
9. Do not ever use homemade fireworks of illegal explosives: They can kill you! Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.
Even using sparklers on our nation’s birthday requires a few common sense rules. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, (CPSC), approximately 16% of all consumer fireworks injuries are caused by sparklers burning hands and legs, with the majority of sparkler injuries occurring to young children. These are injuries that would not have occurred if there had been close adult supervision and if some basic safety steps had been followed. The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers these safety steps for sparklers:
1 Children under the age of 12 should not use sparklers without very close adult supervision.
2 Always remain standing while using sparklers.
3 Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.
4 Never hold, or light, more than one sparkler at a time.
5 Sparklers and bare feet can be a painful combination. Always wear closed‐plain toed shoes when using sparklers.
6 Sparkler wire and stick remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop the spent sparklers directly in a bucket of water.
7 Never hand a lighted sparkler to another person. Give them the unlit sparkler and then light it.
8 Always stand at least 6 feet from another person while using sparklers.
9 Never throw sparklers.
10 Show children how to hold sparklers away from their body and at arm’s length.
11 Teach children not to wave sparklers, especially wooden stick sparklers, or run while holding sparklers.
Florida injury lawyers caution you to keep your celebrations safe, and remember the reason behind the big booms and bright colors lighting the night.