Independence Day is here. You know it’s that time of year again with the sounds of small neighborhood-lit fireworks, firework pop-up shops, along with the red, white, and blue themed decorations everywhere. While fireworks are surely pretty to look at, there have been many accidents, injuries, and damage caused by them. Before buying and setting off any fireworks, make sure that you know the laws in your area, how to light them cautiously, and safely dispose of them.
Fireworks have caused burns, eye damage, fires, property damage, and even death in the past. Without careful use, people are hurt with either minor or permanent damage each year across the country. Some safety precautions to take include:
- Purchase any devices from a registered retailer that has complied with the state’s established requirements
- Read the packaging information, directions, and warnings
- Use any device outdoors, out in the open away from people’s property
- Protect your eyes
- Keep any device away from small children and people who do not know how to handle fireworks
- Do not use any device after you have been drinking
- Keep a method of extinguishing a possible fire near you
- Read the directions on how to extinguish a fire
- Do not leave a lit device while it is still burning
- Follow the directions on how to extinguish a firework after use
New York has banned certain types of fireworks and limits their type, size, and sound. Certain fireworks are illegal in New York such as roman candles, bottle rockets, and firecrackers. Additionally, fireworks that mimic a percussion sound such as a bang or siren are also illegal. Lastly, fireworks that shoot up into the air are banned. On the other hand, what is allowed are “sparkling devices.” Sparkling devices include devices that can be held in your hand or lit on the ground without going up into the air or exploding. You can have them create sparks and colored flame, however.
Counties are also allowed to locally ban them altogether, which three counties decided to do so in 2017. Each year, counties can decide whether sparkling devices will be allowed or not. This year, sparkling devices are allowed in each county, but if you are unsure or have questions, always call your local municipality to see whether they are legal and whether the ones you have purchased are allowed.
Even though this year sparkling devices are allowed, it does not mean that they are completely safe. Whether dealing with fireworks or sparkling devices, you are dealing with fire and sparks that can spread and cause bodily harm. These sparkling devices can nevertheless cause third-degree burns and eye damage. The New York police department has stated that whatever you do, to use common sense and stay safe. Furthermore, if you come across a retailer that is unregistered, notify the authorities so that they can take the necessary steps to stop the use and sale of banned sparkling devices and fireworks.
If you are injured or endure property damage due to fireworks this holiday weekend, contact the O’Brien Law Firm so that we can begin looking over what happened and start helping you receive compensation. Contact us at: (716) 907-7777.