In 2018, the period of early June through the July 4 holiday has been designated National Fireworks Safety Month, The cause has also been taken up by organizations such as the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National Safety Council (NSC), to name a few of the many, in hopes of educating those who use consumer fireworks about the dangers and injuries that are caused by careless behavior.
Consumer fireworks are sold to individuals like you and me. Display fireworks are those used by professionals for large shows. According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, the total amount of fireworks used for displays in 2016 was 285.3 million pounds, while consumers bought 260.7 million pounds.
Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA. About 1,300 are structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outdoor and other fires, usually in rural locations. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage in 2016 according to the NFPA.
According to the CPSC, in 2015, U.S. hospital emergency rooms estimate they treated almost 12,000 people for fireworks-related injuries; 51 percent of those injuries involved the extremities (mostly hands and arms). Children 15 years of age and under accounted for 26 percent of the 2015 injury count. Two years before that, eight people were killed by fireworks in the U.S. during the July 4 holidays – the highest number of such deaths since the late1970’s. More than 11,000 were injured in 2015.
The state of Kentucky prohibits the sale and purchase of fireworks by anyone under the age of 18 unless supervised by a parent or guardian. It is also illegal to sell fireworks to anyone who appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Fireworks in our state cannot be used within 200 feet of any structure, vehicle, or person.
Even though Kentucky does not ban the use of consumer fireworks per se, the State Fire Marshall urges all who plan on using them during the holidays to check with local and county law enforcement for any fireworks laws they might have; many governments have ordinances which ban or restrict the use of projectile-related fireworks.
Injuries to the hand are the most common (36 percent). The face and eyes account for almost 20 percent of injuries. More than half of consumer fireworks injuries are from burns exclusively or in conjunction with blast wounds.
Often, illegal fireworks are the cause of a large number of these injuries — illegal in the sense that their production standards cannot be monitored and some are likely defective. Wooden Sparklers burn at temperatures higher than 2000 degrees, metal ones even hotter. Children under 5 using sparklers and other “safer” fireworks accounted for more than 40 percent of all 2013 fireworks injuries.
Please review the CPSC’s helpful tips for firework safety, never allow children to handle fireworks, and have a SAFE, ENJOYABLE 4th!!
If you’ve been injured and want to speak to an attorney about your legal options, contact Billy Johnson today. We represent clients throughout Kentucky to get them the compensation they deserve.