Each year in communities across the nation fireworks are an eagerly anticipated aspect of most Independence Day celebrations. In a Simi Valley park this year, a fireworks extravaganza delivered more than bargained for, sending dozens of spectators to the hospital after a fireworks platform apparently failed and shot dangerous pyrotechnics into the crowd.
Though pretty against a darkening sky, fireworks are dangerous, injuring thousands each year. Reports to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) included six deaths and 8,000 injuries attributed to fireworks in 2012.
While the causes of many fireworks accidents are unknown, the type of fireworks most likely to cause injury include:
- Bottle rockets
- Reloadable shells
- Roman candles
Firework injuries to hands, arms, face and vision are common and usually avoidable. Next July 4, consider these tips for staying safe around firework displays:
- Buy and use only fireworks legal for your area.
- Observe local ordinances concerning times of use.
- Always keep water close by to dowse inadvertent flame.
- Fireworks are fun but they are not toys. Do not leave children playing with fireworks or even sparklers. Sparklers burn at a temperature that will melt some metals, so consider the damage to human skin.
- Do not point fireworks at any person or animal.
- Use common sense. Do not carry fireworks in your pockets, use in tinder dry conditions, or light inside metal or glass containers.
Victims of the Simi Valley park accident were between 17 months and 78 years old, and suffered shrapnel injury, burns, and injury consistent with being trampled as thousands of spectators fled the scene.
Be smart and avoid serious injury from any kind of fire, especially fireworks. If harmed by the negligence of others, seek skilled legal advice.