It’s approaching that great time of year where we gather amongst friends and family to celebrate Independence Day with backyard barbeques, festive parades, and colorful light shows. But just because it is a national holiday, doesn’t mean you should take a break from safety, especially when it comes to fireworks.
An estimated 8,700 people were injured from fireworks-related accidents in 2012; 6 were killed. Approximately 60% of these cases occurred between June 22 and July 22, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s annual fireworks report. Nearly three-quarters of fireworks-related injuries sustained were to males, and almost half of all accidents occurred to kids under the age of 20.
Fireworks, although fun, can be a real danger if improperly handled. The National Safety Council advises that families follow these important tips in order to have a fun and safe celebration this 4th of July:
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks
- Older children should only use fireworks under adult supervision
- Light fireworks outside in a clear area away from other people, houses, trees, and other flammable materials
- Light one device at a time, and maintain a safe distance after lighting
- Do not allow running or horseplay while fireworks are being used
- Never ignite a firework in a container
- Never attempt to relight a dud firework; instead, dump water on it and discard it safely
- Keep a bucket of water or hose nearby to extinguish fireworks that malfunction or in case of a fire
- Make sure all fireworks are legal in your state before buying or using them, and check to see if there are any bans in your area
Colorado Laws Regarding Fireworks
Specific regulations regarding the use of fireworks vary by city. For instance, in Denver, the “possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling, and use of fireworks are prohibited,” as stated by the Denver Police Department. Basically, if you have to light it, it’s illegal. The maximum punishment for possession and use of illegal fireworks is $999 in fines and up to a year in prison.
However, some cities, like Pueblo, typically permit the use of most fireworks, and many places allow sparklers, depending on whether or not there are statewide bans. Undoubtedly, this year’s hyperactive wildfire season will cause many local governments to enforce bans more strongly than previous years. Be sure to ask your local law-enforcement agency what their policies are regarding the use of fireworks in your community.
Check out the infographic below to learn more about fireworks-related accidents. And from the Denver personal injury attorneys at Babcock Law, we wish you happy and safe 4th of July!