Tips for Staying Safe this Fourth of July

Fourth of July is right around the corner and with the holiday comes concerns over how to stay safe in the midst of the fireworks frenzy.

The personal injury attorneys at Hardy Wolf & Downing want to wish all of our fellow Maine residents a safe and happy Fourth, which is why we are providing a few fireworks safety tips in anticipation of the big day.

Keep it legal

Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before purchasing or lighting them. If you are allowed to use fireworks in your community, only purchase those that have been approved. Beware of fireworks that come in plain brown paper bags. This is often a sign the fireworks are commercial-grade and should only be used by professionals trained in firework handling.

Watch the kids

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that of the thousands of individuals treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to fireworks every summer, a large portion of those patients are between the ages of 10 and 14. Some injuries led to missing digits or limbs, while others caused vision loss. Young children should never be allowed to handle fireworks, even sparklers. Sparklers get to a temperature hotter than what is required to melt glass and can be very dangerous for short little arms to hold.

Nix the pets

Fourth of July is a tough day for dogs and cats, as the loud noises of fireworks can lead to terror in those four-legged friends. Never bring pets along for fireworks, whether setting them off privately or heading to a public display. Instead, keep pets safely shut indoors where they will not be able to run away or get into harm’s way.

Protect the eyes

The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that there were 1,300 eye injuries from fireworks treated in emergency rooms in 2014. That number was double what was seen just two years prior in 2012. Eye injuries can occur both to those handling the fireworks and spectators. It is very important to stay a safe distance away when fireworks are shot off and to wear safety goggles when handling fireworks directly.

Safety steps

When handling fireworks, keep a bucket of water and a garden hose nearby. Never try to relight a “dud” firework (one that did not ignite) and keep the face away when setting off any type of firework. Never light more than one firework at a time and douse all fireworks with water after use. Store them in a metal trash can away from other flammable items for at least 24 hours before disposing of them.

Stick with public displays

For the safest Fourth of July, stick with public displays handled by professionals in the field of pyrotechnics. Observe all of the rules in regards to where to stand to watch the display and never pick up fireworks off the ground after the show is over.

If you are injured in a fireworks-related accident due to negligence, manufacturing defect or another reason out of your control, legal recourse may be available.

The team at Hardy, Wolf & Downing helps victims of firework accidents pursue damages for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

To get a complimentary case evaluation, contact our office today at 1-800-INJURED.