As July 4 Approaches Beware of Fireworks Dangers

As Independence Day grows nearer, it is important to our personal injury lawyers that they help Americans become aware of the serious risk of injury linked to fireworks. Last year alone, more than 5,000 visits to U.S. emergency rooms in the 30 days surrounding the Fourth were attributed to firecrackers, aerial explosives or homemade devices.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, of the 8,700 people treated for firework injuries in 2012, 60 percent suffered those injuries between June 22 and July 22. Among these injuries were 6 deaths, including the death of 17-year-old Justin Blake Smith. Smith died after trying to make a “sparkler bomb” by taping together up to 300 sparklers, which exploded when he lit them, NBC reports.

“These figures represent more than numbers; they represent the lives of real people who have been affected well beyond the Fourth of July,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.

Dr. Andrew Sama, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, underscored the fact that fireworks always present the risk of injury.

“There’s no such thing as completely safe fireworks,” he said. “A few minutes of well-intentioned fun can result in lifelong disabilities.”

According to Dr. Sama, most fireworks injuries are the result of a malfunction. Many more fireworks injuries occur when people stand too close to the explosives or when they play with fireworks which have been used or lit.

Officials from the agency of U.S. Customs and Border, along with CPSC officials, tested a number of fireworks shipments imported into the U.S. in 2012, finding that up to 30 percent of these explosives violated the Federal Hazardous Substance Act (FHSA).

“The safest and only thing you should do is watch a professional fireworks display managed by experts who have proper training and experience handling these explosives,” said Dr. Sama. “As always, we’ll be ready to treat you, but we don’t want to have to see you in the E.R.”

Every year, multiple personal injury lawsuits are filed in the U.S. on behalf of individuals injured by fireworks. The best thing to do is to practice firework safety and to enjoy the professional shows displayed across San Diego County.