New Year’s Eve is a time for renewal and celebration and, of course, fireworks. Whether you’re enjoying a local fireworks show held be the city, or lighting sparklers in your backyard, it is important to remember that safety is a priority, especially when handling explosives. However, firework safety starts even before your celebration begins.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety (NCFS) recently issued a safety article urging consumers to beware of unregulated fireworks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates firework manufacturing with strict standards and quality control checks. However, unregulated fireworks are likely homemade or manufactured in an unregulated facility with little to no quality control and can be extremely dangerous.
Unregulated fireworks are sold by a person without a license and are generally packaged in brown dull packaging. The NCFS recommends that consumers purchase fireworks only from a licensed store, tent, or stand. If you are unsure of whether the store you are purchasing from is licensed, ask the owner for their license. Legitimate businesses will be happy to hand it over. Additionally, consumers can usually spot regulated fireworks as they are packaged in brightly colored boxes with a warning label and their country of origin.
Safety is still not guaranteed by purchasing properly regulated fireworks. More than 240 people visit the emergency room everyday with firework related injuries in the month surrounding July 4th and New Year’s Day. Already this year, at least one man has lost his hand in a firework related accident. We have handled cases where a person was injured from explosives and are familiar with the devastating nature of these injuries. Here is a list of tips to ensure that your New Year’s celebrations remain safe:
- Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before lighting them.
- Never give fireworks to children. A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities.
- Alcohol and fireworks do NOT mix. Save your drinking until after the show.
- Wear protective glasses or goggles when shooting off fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
- Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings, vehicles, and overhanging trees.
- Never try to relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Always have a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher, and a charged hose nearby and ready to use.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Dispose of spent fireworks be wetting them down and placing the remnants in a metal trashcan away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
- Do not try to bring fireworks on a plane. FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your baggage; checked or carry-on.
- Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire and police departments.
Finally, if you’d like to remain safe and enjoy one of the big shows that will happen tonight put on by one of the communities in or around Orlando, here is a list of the Orlando Area Firework Celebrations and parties.
A civil trial attorney with the firm Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis, P.A., Mr. Damaso concentrates on cases involving personal injury and wrongful deaths and solely represents individual victims and consumers. He takes his clients' cases personally and is committed to their best possible outcome. His strong sense of community has led to his support of numerous charities in the Orlando area.