With Independence Day right around the corner, you might be thinking picnics, parades, and fireworks shows. As fun as fireworks are, they are dangerous. Think about it: fireworks are little exploding devices. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2016 there were 11,100 people who were injured and treated in emergency rooms for firework related injuries. And of the firework-related injuries, more than 69% of them were burns.
Fireworks are beautiful, but they’re also dangerous. Every year, fire departments across the country prepare for their busiest time of year. “We have already increased coverage for the weekend in anticipation of fireworks-related fires and injury,” tells Grand Rapids Firefighter Matthew Gonzalez. “There are too many risks associated with fireworks that all homeowners want to avoid.”
It Might Cause a Fire
Fireworks are not a misnomer. You will certainly be working with fire, and one wrong move is all it takes to start a fire. The chance of starting a fire multiplies if the climate is dry, and especially increases if there are fire warnings to begin with. Even something as innocent as simple sparklers can set off a fire, if you don’t properly make sure that the flame is out before you throw them away.
In 2013, in the United States alone, fireworks caused an estimated 15,600 reported fires, including 1,400 total structure fires, 200 vehicle fires, and 14,000 outside and other fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires resulted in an estimated $21 million in direct property damage. More than one-quarter (28%) of fires started by fireworks in 2009-2013 were reported on Independence Day. Almost half (47%) of the reported fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks
Stay Away in General
The most common cause of fireworks-related injuries is being too close. When you light a firework, it explodes.
While sparklers might seem like the “wimpiest” or least dangerous, they actually burn at temperatures around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. “You have to keep fireworks, especially sparklers, away from kids, they burn as hot as a blowtorch,” Elliot F. Kaye, Consumer Products Safety Commission Chairman said. This is hot enough to melt many types of metals and cause significant burns. If you give one to your child, make sure you can provide constant supervision to ensure that they don’t get too close.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports 230 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. In 2013, there were eight deaths and an estimated 11,400 consumers who sustained injuries related to fireworks. Sixty-five percent, or 7,400, of the injuries in 2013, occurred in the 30 days surrounding July 4, 2013, according to CPSC‘s latest data.
Does your home insurance cover fireworks injuries and damage? The answer is complicated, according to Insurance.com. Most home insurance policies provide several different types of protection — each with varying payout limits. Also, there are different types of accidents.
If you’re shooting off illegal fireworks and set fire to your house, you may not be covered. Most policies exclude damage resulting from illegal acts or when you purposely caused injury or damage. If you get into a bottle-rocket war and injure someone, you may not be covered because the incident was intentional. Always follow Michigan law when using fireworks to better your chances of insurance and avoidance of injury.
While it may be fun to host a firework show in your own backyard, sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals. With so many reported injuries and fires, protect your family from risk and avoid home fireworks. “If you don’t know how to safely light fireworks or you’re unsure, just don’t do it,” says Gonzalez. From the Grand Rapids Fire Department and the Home Builders Association team, have a fun and safe Fourth of July!
If you can’t live without shooting fireworks off here are some tried and true safety tips to review. It could save you from a trip to the hospital!
Never Let Children Play with Fireworks
Use the Fireworks According to their Directions
Dispose of Fireworks Safely
Keep an Eye Out For Your Pet
Other Things to Keep in Mind