Fireworks This Season: Why Safety Comes First

It’s that time of year – when the night sky lights up with explosions of fireworks.  Unfortunately, it’s also a busy time for emergency rooms and hand surgeons treating fireworks injuries, from small burns to huge blasts.  Senator Kay Kirkpatrick, a former hand surgeon, told the Marietta Daily Journal yesterday that she spent many nights “piecing together people that did not do the right thing.” She said that a blast injury “messes everything up, and half the time there’s a lot of contamination…And a fireworks injury can ruin the rest of your life.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that firecrackers are the primary cause of injury, followed by sparklers and bottle rockets. While most injuries are caused by user error (including in professional displays), far too many serious injuries have been linked to defective fireworks.

Illegal and Defective Fireworks

Last year a man suffered “catastrophic hand injuries” from an accident with a type of illegal firework known as a mortar. D.C. Fire Marshal Tony Falwell told WTOP News that two children have suffered serious blast injuries so far this summer season playing with illegal fireworks. “Never touch a firework that you may think is a dud…never try to relight a firework that has failed to light,” Falwell warns.

Fireworks are mainly manufactured in China and in most cases involving defective fireworks, the defect is caused by the manufacturer in China. The CPSC reported back in 2009 that half of the imported fireworks shipments it checked contained faulty fireworks – they failed to meet U.S. safety standards.

In 2017 the CPSC recalled several brands of fireworks made in China and sold in the U.S. due to a product defect that had the potential to cause severe burn injuries. Unfortunately such fireworks are found to be defective after many reported injuries.

If you or someone you know has been injured by defective fireworks, The Killino Firm of fireworks injury lawyers bring their considerable experience and expertise to bear in the pursuit of justice and hold those who have caused injury responsible for their actions.

Firework Injury Statistics

Some fireworks injuries have caused death.  Between 2003 and 2018 there were 121 fireworks-related deaths, according to the CPSC.  Over 9,000 fireworks injuries were treated in the emergency room last year, with 62 percent of them occurring within the month surrounding the Fourth of July.

Out of 11,000 fireworks injuries that occurred in 2016, sparklers alone caused 1,300 hand and finger injuries.  Last year at least two children experienced serious burns from sparklers. Burns and other fireworks-related injuries can result in extensive scarring, hospitalization, surgeries and even amputation of the hand, reported the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH).

Fireworks Safety Tips

The ASSH’s safety tips are obvious but all too often ignored: Never consume drugs or alcohol when using fireworks, always wear eye protection when using any kind of flammable material and never hold a firework that is not meant to be held.

The Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office suggests the following  fireworks safety tips:

  • Purchase fireworks from a licensed fireworks dealer.
  • Observe all state laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Read the labels carefully before igniting any fireworks.
  • Ensure that an adult supervises all firework activities.
  • Never allow children to ignite fireworks.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Only use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.

Lastly, be mindful that fireworks danger doesn’t end with the explosion. Spent fireworks can reignite: Last year a City of Sacramento garbage truck load caught fire because fireworks weren’t thrown out correctly. Officials say you must wet down fireworks or coals immediately and then soak them in water for at least 24 hours before even thinking about putting them in the garbage.

Please adhere to fireworks safety advice, have fun and be safe.

The Killino Firm has handled a wide variety of defective product cases, including those that have resulted in serious injuries from defective fireworks. Our experienced attorneys, paralegals, and investigators share the goal of helping victims win the compensation they need and the justice they deserve. If you have been hurt by a preventable accident caused by fireworks, call us today at 1-877-875-2927.