The Fourth of July is almost here, and our legal team at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Independence Day.
We know that during this time of year, fireworks are often synonymous with celebrations. Unfortunately, we’re also well aware that the use of fireworks can pose substantial risks for serious injuries – especially when they’re used in a less-than-safe manner.
Whether your holiday plans entail a block party, a backyard barbeque, or a professional event, there’s a good chance fireworks may be involved – after all, “second-tier” fireworks such as sparklers and fountains (and most fireworks products that doesn’t go above 12 feet in the air) are now legal in the state of New Jersey.
Whatever you’ll be doing this July 4th, ensuring safe and sensible use of fireworks is important for everyone’s safety and property, and for reducing risks of what can be serious fireworks accidents or catastrophic injuries.
Here are a few fireworks safety tips:
- Supervision – Even fireworks deemed “safe and sane” pose risks of unintentional injuries. That includes sparklers, snakes, and firecrackers considered “safer” fireworks, all of which can burn at temperatures hot enough to cause serious burn injuries and major fires. Parents should always ensure these and any fireworks are used by children under the close supervision of adults, in accordance to manufacturers’ directions, in safe and controlled conditions outdoors, and in ways which reduce risks of injuries (properly held, never pointed at others, fully extinguished after use, etc.).
- Lighting – Fireworks should only be lit outdoors and away from any nearby fire hazards (i.e. barbeques, gas ranges, propane tanks, and wood structures on patios or homes).They should never be lit in a container, and should never be “re-lit” if they malfunction or fail to work on a first attempt. When lighting any firework, do so at arm’s length and back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
- One at a time – Fireworks can be fun, but too many can be a serious danger. If lighting more than one at a time means your ability to safely supervise their use and any children using them, be sure to light and use only one firework at a time so as to prevent any unanticipated dangers.
- Be prepared – Be prepared for any potential problems by keeping your fireworks in a safe space that can’t be accessed by children not under your watch, having a bucket of water or garden hose nearby to soak and extinguish used fireworks and any “duds,” and having a plan should any unexpected fires or injuries occur. If you’re attending a professional display or a large event, it’s also a good idea to set an established meeting place just in case people get lost or a major accident creates any unforeseen chaos.
More Holiday Safety Tips
Fireworks alone aren’t the only dangers during this major holiday – others hazards also exist. Here are few ways you can address them:
- Roadway safety & impaired driving – Roadway risks can increase substantially during the summer months and holidays. Be extra vigilant in increased traffic that may have more distracted drivers and out-of-town motorists prone to making sudden moves behind the wheel. Also be sure to plan for a safe ride if you plan on drinking during the holiday season, and watch out for any drunk or impaired drivers who didn’t make the same sensible choice.
- Boating / water safety – If your plans include some time on the water, make sure that children are always supervised, proper equipment and safety gear is kept nearby, and rules are made so as to avoid preventable accidents. For boaters, never operate a boat while under the influence, and make sure you know local rules and laws regarding ski safety and having passengers in the water. For those who choose to hit the beach, make sure you use a buddy system, comply with local laws, stay out of rip currents, and listen to safety personnel and lifeguards.
- Grilling & BBQ safety – Firing up the grill for Fourth of July is as “America” as it gets. Enjoy your grilling safely by placing barbeques outside and away from any structures or materials that may catch on fire, using long-handled tongs and tools when cooking food, placing oils or spray away from flames, and supervising children nearby.
If you or someone you love are harmed due to another’s negligence during the holidays, it’s important to know you may have the right to seek accountability and financial compensation for your damages. Levinson Axelrod, P.A. is always available to help residents across New Jersey better understand their rights following preventable injuries. Contact us to discuss a potential case with a lawyer.