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Fireworks and summertime tend to go hand-in-hand, and not just during Independence Day weekend. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, many public and private celebrations include fireworks, such as sparklers, noisemakers, and small-time displays.
People have loved fireworks for generations because they capture a spirit of excitement, provide outstanding sound and visual effects, and offer a sense of cultural nostalgia. Nevertheless, fireworks should never be underestimated. When used inappropriately, fireworks can be dangerous and cause catastrophic injuries.
Fireworks are unsafe because they bring together a combination of fire and heat-causing chemicals. This combination allows the fireworks to combust and send off extremely hot sparks or send pieces of the firework flying.
People who are not well-versed in fireworks safety precautions may think that they can just set off firecrackers or ignite rockets without any problems. However, adding a flame to any type of firecracker turns it into a possibly dangerous object, even if the results look attractive.
Fireworks can be particularly hazardous when they are set off by minors. Children under 18 years old should never be in charge of lighting firecrackers or fireworks. Only adults should control fireworks at family gatherings or parties. Even then, the adults should make sure that they are sober and understand what types of fireworks they are using.
Unfortunately, some fireworks sold to consumers are ultimately meant for professionals. Typically, those kinds of fireworks are distributed in paper wrappings rather than in manufacturers’ boxes.
Essentially, any firework can cause injury to the person handling it. Even spectators can be wounded or killed by fireworks. Reports state that every year, thousands of people get hurt because of fireworks.
Fireworks burn hotter than many people expect. Therefore, the most commonly reported injuries tend to be first, second, and third-degree burns. The burns can occur anywhere on the body, including the feet, hands, arms, torso, legs, and face. Eye injuries from fireworks are frequently seen in emergency rooms, too.
In exceptional and rare cases, fireworks may contribute to mental trauma if someone witnesses a particularly tragic accident that was caused by a poorly arranged fireworks display.
Just because fireworks can be unsafe, does not mean that individuals and families need to avoid them altogether. Proper planning and execution can help reduce the likelihood of injuries linked to fireworks. Therefore, every stage of setting off fireworks, from buying the fireworks to disposing them, should be mapped out.
Fireworks can be legally sold in many places in Delaware and other states. However, illegal fireworks dealers may try to sell fireworks to unsuspecting buyers. Consumers should make sure that they only buy legal fireworks. They should also conduct research about each type of firework to understand what they are buying.
It is always better to be more conservative when it comes to fireworks. Individuals relatively new to working with fireworks should choose fireworks that they are familiar with, such as fireworks they have handled before.
Before any fireworks display, a homeowner should prepare the area where the fireworks will be used. The preparation may include picking a detonation spot away from a home, shed, structure, trees, cars, shrubs, or items that can easily catch fire. If a grassy area is very dry, a homeowner may want to wet the grass prior to setting off fireworks.
Prep time should involve filling a few buckets with water and putting them within reach of the fireworks handlers and spectators. The buckets can be used to quickly put out fires. The buckets can also be used to drench smoldering, used fireworks to ensure that they have stopped burning.
As a final precautionary measure, having a first aid kit on hand is always advisable.
Prior to igniting fireworks, handlers should thoroughly read any directions printed on the packages. If instructions have not been included, the fireworks may be meant for professionals with pyrotechnic experience. Homeowners should use great caution before agreeing to use any fireworks that seem to be unusual or uncommon.
When setting off fireworks, everyone who will be handling the fireworks should stay in a designated safety area. Fireworks handlers should wear safety goggles or protective eyewear. Any fireworks that do not ignite the first time around should be properly disposed of and not relit.
If children are going to be given lighted sparklers, they should always be accompanied by adults. Kids tend to drop sparklers, which can lead to burns.
People who are not actively involved in lighting the fireworks should stand off to the side to give enough room for the people who are. Fireworks can shoot in unexpected directions, hitting watchers who are too close to the action.
After each firework has been lit or set off, it should be doused with water to cool it off immediately. People should not toss newly detonated fireworks into trash cans, as the fireworks may still be hot enough to start a fire with the rest of the garbage. Before going to bed, homeowners should clean up all fireworks debris and ensure it is not smoldering.
People worried about the risks associated with fireworks have alternatives when it comes to enjoying fireworks during the summer months. Many municipalities set off fireworks during major holidays, which allows residents and visitors to have a fun experience from a safe distance. Some national fireworks displays are televised, which may be an acceptable alternative to watching in person.
Anyone who is seriously hurt by fireworks may want to contact a personal injury lawyer. It may be possible to recover damages from a private individual, the seller, or maker of the fireworks. Since every situation is unique, injured parties should always seek legal advice from knowledgeable professionals.
Fireworks can be fun, but they may cause serious injuries. If you were seriously hurt during a fireworks display, you may be able to collect compensation. Our Delaware personal injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow protect clients injured by negligent parties. Contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500 for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.