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Playing With Fire: Fireworks Safety

Happy 4th of July! All across Texas, locals are preparing to celebrate this patriotic holiday. Grocery stores are swarming with last-minute customers, while many are firing up their backyard barbecue grills for a dinner consisting of hamburgers, steaks, and more. Others take a more traditional route of celebrating Independence Day by roasting hotdogs and marshmallows over a crackling fire. Neighbors and friends enjoy the cool water and swim in backyard pools, while those who dwell near lakes spend a day out on the boat.

Regardless of how the 4th of July is celebrated, most people end the night in a similar way: fireworks. Purchasing your own for personal use is simply a matter of hopping in a car and driving to one of the many fireworks specialty stores around Texas. However, improper care or precaution can change an evening of celebration into a crisis. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 230 people visit the emergency room a day during the month surrounding the 4th of July. In America, 8 fire-work related deaths were recorded between June 20 - July 20 2014.  Here are some tips for safely handling fireworks:

#1: Make sure you are in a safe and legal zone. 

Adults over the age of 18 can purchase fireworks from the store. However, this does not mean they are free to light them wherever they wish. First, you must make sure that the area is safe: clear of any trees or brush that can easily catch fire, and on flat ground preventing  the firework from tipping over with its its barrel aimed towards spectators.

Additionally, you must ensure you are legally allowed to light fireworks in your area. Many public places restrict fireworks. You may receive a fine if caught lighting in an illegal area, including your own backyard. Always check the park or neighborhood rules before lighting your fireworks.

#2: Do not allow children to play with any fireworks.

Most people have the sense to keep their children well away from "big" fireworks. But what about sparklers? Many parents consider a sparkler to be a "kiddie firework". Nothing could be further from the truth. According to the CPSC, sparklers can burn up to 2,000 degrees! One trip or slip and your child could suffer a serious burn. It is better to let them sit back and enjoy larger fireworks from a distance. Children love fireworks and are enchanted by their beauty and sparkle. Be sure to supervise them while attending firework shows and/or setting off smaller fireworks for the family’s entertainment.

#3: Firework malfunctions happen -- get legal counsel. 

Like any other product, fireworks are prone to product defects and therefore product liability. For example, the supplier may improperly design or package the materials, leading to a premature explosion. Faulty design of the container could cause projectiles to launch in unexpected directions. Defective fuses lighting at random times are also a possibility.

Injuries involving product defects can be serious and on very rare occasion fatal. If you are or someone you know is a victim of firework defects, contact the lawyers at Colley & Colley immediately. After assessing your situation, we will fight relentlessly for the compensation and rights you deserve. Contact an experienced East Texas attorney today.