As California prepares for 2014, many will ring in the New Year with a fireworks show. When objects are exploding, however, even for the purpose of enjoyment, there are bound to be accidents, injuries, and malfunctions.
When preparing your fireworks show for New Year’s Eve, be sure to take the proper precautions to ensure you have a safe—and injury-free—start to 2014.
Unfortunately, some people can be careless with fireworks, or the fireworks themselves may be faulty. In 2011, 8,000 firework-related injuries were reported in the U.S., four of them fatal.
Fireworks are strictly regulated in the U.S. and California. Counties within the state can enact their own ordinances, and most have. These local laws often mirror state law, but cannot add to the rules of the State Fireworks Law.
In Los Angeles County, you cannot buy fireworks in Sherman Oaks or Sherman Oaks. You can, however, purchase them in communities listed on the California Fireworks Newswire.
The first rule of avoiding injury is to avoid sketchy fireworks. This seems like common sense, but with so much regulation, illegal fireworks are a big business. They can easily be defective, expired, or simply low quality. Unregulated explosives can have unpredictable burn rates and could cause serious injury or death.
Only purchase fireworks from reputable, licensed retailers. Also, avoid buying last season’s closeouts, no matter how big the discount. Older fireworks are more likely to ignite improperly, if they do so at all (ex. They could explode in your hand).
Do not allow fireworks to be exposed to moisture, as they may not fully ignite. If you do find yourself dealing with a half-exploded firework, don’t go near it before dousing it with water to ensure it’s dead.
Do not carry fireworks in your pocket. They are fragile items, and the static electricity you generate just by walking around could cause a spark.
Be sure to set up fireworks on a nonflammable surface, like a green lawn or spacious concrete driveway. The area should be as level as possible, as well as a good distance away from any buildings, trees, or roads.
If you are burned due to the carelessness of another or the faulty manufacturing of a firework, make sure you can get to the ER if necessary. Minor burns should be placed under cool, running water for 15 minutes, then loosely wrapped in medical gauze.
If you suffer a burn over three inches or to the face, eye, groin, buttocks, hands, feet, or joints, go straight to the hospital or call 911, depending on the emergency.
Burn injuries from fireworks can be devastating, especially if caused by the carelessness of another. Please practice firework safety on New Year’s Eve and welcome 2014 without a trip to the ER.
If you are injured, especially on someone else’s property, be sure to contact an experienced Los Angeles injury attorney for the help you need.