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Fireworks, Big and Small, Can Pose Risks to Users in Fort Lauderdale and Elsewhere

If you think bottle rockets, sparklers and small firecrackers are without risk because of their size you would be wrong according to new data recently released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers know that the Fourth of July has passed, but understand people will still be using fireworks throughout the summer. Please use these celebrate responsibly by not drinking and driving, engage in safe boating activities, and stay away from handling fireworks.

Data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that last year, during the 30 days surrounding July 4th, these small fireworks were responsible for sending roughly 1,900 consumers to emergency rooms. For the year, legal and illegal fireworks sent nearly 8,600 consumers to the hospital. Sadly, three people were killed in firework-related accidents. Of those injured by fireworks, about 40 percent were children under the age of 15.

“From purchase to ignition, know how you and your family can stay safe and which fireworks are allowed in your state if fireworks are part of your July 4th celebration,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Never assume that a fireworks device is safe based on its size and never allow young children to play with or light fireworks. By knowing the dangers of all types of fireworks, consumers can prevent tragedies.”

CPSC recently hosted its annual fireworks safety press conference, demonstrating the dangers related to legal and illegal fireworks. During the 30 days surrounding last year’s Fourth of July holiday, nearly 6,300 people were injured by all types of fireworks. Sparklers, firecrackers and bottle rockets accounted for about 40 percent of those injuries.

The hands, face and head are the common areas most injured by lacerations or burns. A joint effort by the CPSC, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) along with permanent staffing at the Import Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC) in Washington, D.C. was established to put into service new enforcement measures meant to stop the manufacturing and sales of illegal fireworks.

New procedures for selecting and identifying fireworks at ports began in 2010. CPSC staff would test selected fireworks to see if they complied with the Federal Hazardous Substance Act (FHSA). Nearly 45 percent of the fireworks that were tested did not comply with the FHSA.

Working closely with their federal partners, CPSC is enforcing fireworks regulations, prosecuting manufacturers of illegal fireworks, and trying to educate the public about the dangers associated with non-compliant fireworks. Recently the CPSC sent a letter to the industry about “adult snapper” devices. The letter cautions that an “adult snapper” is not manufactured in the same manner as a traditional “snapper.” The “adult snapper” contains several milligrams of pyrotechnic composition, which CPSC considers equal to the regulatory definition of a firecracker.

Keep these safety tips in mind if you decide to purchase legal fireworks:
-Never let young children play with fireworks.
-Before buying or using fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.
-Don’t buy fireworks that are wrapped in brown paper. This usually indicates that the fireworks were meant for professional displays and are extremely dangerous.
-Adult supervision is always needed during firework activities. Even using sparklers need supervision, their temperatures can reach up to 2,000 degrees!
-Never lean over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse or light more than one at a time. Move quickly away immediately after lighting any fireworks.
-Never re-light or pick up fireworks that haven’t gone off.
-Never point or throw fireworks at anyone and never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them out of metal or glass containers.
-Keep water close by in case there is a fire or other mishap. Douse all fireworks with water before throwing them in the trash.

If you or someone you love has been injured by a defective product in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach or the surrounding areas, contact the personal injury lawyers at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC. Call for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights at 1-800-529-2368.

Additional Resources:

Faulty Consumer Products a High Risk of Personal Injuries in West Palm Beach, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog May 22, 2011

Florida measures would force victims to share fault in Fort Lauderdale accidents caused by vehicle defects, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog April 11, 2011

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