FIREWORKS SAFETY AND KEEPING A SAFE DISTANCE

Attorney Newsletter

The recent 4th of July Simi Valley fireworks catastrophe should be a very real reminder why safety precautions should be taken and respected when shooting off fireworks.  Apparently, a rack of fireworks fell over, setting off others and firing across the field into the crowd of spectators. It is reported that 39 people were injured as many in the crowd of thousands fled for safety. Three of the victims were hospitalized and the injured ranged in age from infants to senior citizens.  The injuries included burns and shrapnel wounds, and some injuries were the result of being trampled by the fleeing and panicked crowd.

Regulations require crowds be kept 70 feet away for every inch of diameter of the largest shell. Investigators are looking into whether the pyrotechnics display was set far enough away from spectators.  Questions are also being raised whether those guidelines need to be revised so that the public is kept farther back from the firework launch sites.

Although it has been over 10 years since the state of California conducted an official survey of fireworks related injuries, the statistics are telling:

California State Fire Marshal

California Fire Incident Reporting System

(CFIRS Program)

FIREWORKS SPECIAL STUDY SEASON

JUNE 17 – JULY 16, 1992

 Dollar Loss as Estimated by Fire Department

Not all Fire Incident Reports Contain a Dollar Loss

FORM OF HEAT

TOTAL

FIRE

INCIDENT

PROPERTY

DOLLAR

LOSS

RELEVANT

PERCENTAGE

OF DOLLAR

LOSS

FIRE

FIGHTERS

INJURED

FIRE

FIGHTERS

DEATHS

CIVILIANS

INJURED

CIVILIANS

DEATHS

Unknown

14

0

0%

0

0

0

0

Safe & Sane

174

136,022

8%

0

0

0

0

Illegal

278

1,471,636

92%

2

0

1

0

TOTAL

466

1,607,658

100%

2

0

1

0

 

Nationwide the American Pyrotechnics Association, National Council on Firework Safety reported that in the year 2013 the following fireworks related injuries:

Firework Industry   Statistics Data
Pounds   of fireworks purchased each year in the US 213.2   lbs
Annual   fireworks industry revenue $940   million
Firework Injury Statistics Data
Number   of injuries per 100 lbs of Fireworks used 3.5
Number   of deaths in the US annually due to fireworks 4
Number   of serious injuries in the US each year by fireworks 9,300
Percent   of injuries caused by illegal fireworks 40 %
Percent   of injuries incurred by kids under the age of 14 45 %
Number   of Americans who lose sight in one or both eyes due to fireworks 400
Number   of US fires caused each year due to fireworks 20,000
Percent   of all US fire dollar loss caused by fireworks 0.1 %
Firework Injuries by Type   of Device Data
Firecrackers 32 %
Sky   Rockets 15 %
Sparklers 10 %
Fountains 7 %
Spinners   & Novelties 5 %
Roman   Candles 4 %
Reloadable   Mortars 3 %
Other 9 %
Unknown 15 %

Take responsibility when using fireworks:

• Don’t overestimate your child’s ability to use good judgment.
• Not only should there be adult supervision but only adults should light fireworks.
• Make sure fireworks, matches and lighters are secured out of sight and reach of children.
• Be sure to discharge all fireworks devices so there are no leftovers to tempt curious children.
• M80’s, M100’s or M1000’s are not fireworks; they are illegal explosive devices. They can cause amputations or other severe injuries and possessing them has legal consequences.

If you or a loved one has been injured from fireworks or injured due to the negligence of another, please give a Sherman Oaks personal injury attorney at the Law Office of Frederick S. Schwartz a call or send an email for a free consultation. In most of these cases, there is no fee unless there is a recovery. Frederick Schwartz was previously an attorney for an insurance company and is well acquainted with rights to recovery under a policy of insurance.

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