Independence Day is just around the corner, which means great food, great company and fun. The day also brings fireworks fun by amateurs and professionals alike. Sale and use of fireworks in California is limited to 295 communities, a list of which can be found here:
If you are a parent, or plan to use fireworks yourself you should be aware that fireworks pose certain dangers. Every year The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection promotes safe fireworks use by providing helpful tips for 4th of July.
4th of July Safety Tips (PDF from CalFire)
Some of the tips include:
- Do not wear loose fitting clothing
- Always have adult supervision
- Never point or throw at another person
It probably won’t come as a surprise to you that 65% of all fireworks injuries occur around the 4th of July holiday. Last year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that 9,600 injuries occurred around this holiday. Burns to hands and fingers were the most reported injuries for obvious reasons. (PDF source)
Legal Implications of Fireworks
Anyone who is thinking about purchasing fireworks for entertainment this holiday should think about the legal implications should an injury occur. Anyone who has acted negligently and caused an injury by fireworks can be held liable, including:
- Municipalities that put on fireworks shows
- Property owners who are entertaining guests or cause injury to a bystander
- Parents of children who cause injuries to others
- Anyone who has purchased and used fireworks illegally as defined by state law, resulting in injuries (negligence per se)
Note: illegal purchases and use of fireworks can also lead to criminal prosecution beyond personal injury claims.
Hosts and co-hosts may want to rethink having a fireworks display due to potential liability issues. It’s always best to play it safe and opt for safer forms of entertainment.