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Fireworks Accidents Occur More Than You Think: Enjoy Them Safely This July

Steve Wagner

Summer is upon us and that means the block parties, cookouts, and downtown festivals are about to commence. A natural part of all these summer parties is the use of fireworks, especially when we get closer to Independence Day. But with the use of fireworks comes an increase in emergency room visits, and skyrocketing number of burns, and a general lack of safety precautions.

In 2012, emergency rooms treated 8700 people for firework-related injuries and accidents, 31% of which were head injuries. In addition to these injuries, the most recent year for statistics shows us that fireworks caused 17,800 fires, which caused 8 civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and over $32 million in property damage.

There are some organizations working to eliminate the use of consumer fireworks completely, urging people to only watch the public displays rather than lighting up shows in their own back yards. We don’t want to take such an extreme position, but we do want to encourage safe usage of personal fireworks, and help you remain in compliance with Indiana laws.

So what are the laws?

  • As a consumer, you should only purchase 1.4G fireworks, never 1.3G fireworks. If a retailer is attempting to sell you 1.3G fireworks (for which you need a special permit to operate), you should report them to the police.
  • Only persons 18 or older should purchase fireworks.
  • Children should never operate fireworks without direct adult supervision.
  • Fireworks may only be used on personal property, or property where you have direct permission to use them.
  • On non-holidays, fireworks may be used between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. On Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and New Year’s Eve, the usage hours are extended by one hour until Midnight.

Laws aren’t the only things that will keep you safe when using fireworks, especially since the Indiana laws don’t offer safety advice other than child supervision. So if you’re planning to use fireworks of any kind this year, here are a few tips to increase your safety and decrease your risk of injury:

  • Never operate fireworks by yourself. It’s always safer to operate with at least one other person, if not multiple other people.
  • Never mix drugs, alcohol, and/or fireworks. Fireworks should not be operated while under the influence.
  • It’s always safer to light just one item at a time. Even when you’re operating small objects like bottle rockets, sparklers, and firecrackers. Don’t try to hold or light more than one.
  • If you light a firework that turns out to be a “dud”, don’t try to relight it. Let it sit for several minutes to make sure it doesn’t ignite, and then drop it in a bucket of water.
  • Drop all fireworks, sparklers, and anything you’ve lit into a bucket of water after it’s gone off.
  • Never try to make your own fireworks or alter/modify ones you’ve purchased. Fireworks go through strict safety testing before they are purchased, and altering them can have deadly consequences.

Whatever you do, remember to trust your instincts. If it feels unsafe, it probably is. Fireworks are not something with which to take risks, but they can be a good tool for teaching your children safety and responsibility if done well.

Wagner Reese – Personal Injury Lawyers

If you sustained an injury from a firework accident or from the negligence of another person, the personal injury attorneys at Wagner Reese can assist you with your case. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.

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