A star spangled spectacular is headed our way in a week and like many Americans, we are looking forward to the early morning parade, backyard barbecue and laughter among friends and family. While these traditions are popular, one we must discuss is that of fireworks. The Fourth of July is always a busy time and we want to ensure you and your loved ones are safe when using or near fireworks.
Effective July 1, 2015, it will now be legal for Georgia residents to buy fireworks, including bottle rockets. While many celebrate this change, fireworks safety is now an explosive topic.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) is one of the largest advocates for firework safety. In 2011 they conducted a study that found an average of 200 people suffered fireworks-related injuries and were sent to the emergency room. Of those injuries reported, 65% of them were during the weeks surrounding July 4th.
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More recently, the USCPSC found that an estimated 11,400 people nationally were injured in fireworks-related accidents and eight (8) people died. While the fatality rate may seem low compared to the number injured; what many people don’t realize is a firework injury can be life altering. Injuries such as loss of hands, fingers and eyes are just to name a few.
Locally, a physician at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center of Doctors Hospital (Augusta, GA) treated over 40 patients in 2014 with fireworks-related injuries during the holiday weekend. Even more tragically, a 54 year old male from Georgia died last year when a firework exploded in his hands. The tragedies continue to strike and too many lives are forever changed because of the mishandling of fireworks.
Please be extra cautious as we approach this fun and jubilant holiday. Be extremely mindful and consider these tips before your celebration:
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of a fire or other mishap.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
For more information on this article, contact Kaine Law.