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Firework Safety

By July 4, 2019July 6th, 2019No Comments

The Fourth of July is right around the corner, which means people around the country should review firework safety guidelines and laws related to an old July 4th tradition.

It is important to note that Oklahoma has some specific laws about fireworks. Many cities prohibit the sale, possession, or discharge of fireworks within city limits. These cities include: Bethany, Del City, Edmond, El Reno, Midwest City, Moore, Nichols Hills, Norman, Oklahoma City, The Village, Warr Acres, and Yukon. Throughout the state of Oklahoma, firework vendors must be licensed distributors. Individuals can apply to for a distributor license by applying with the State Fire Marshal. All fireworks sold must be approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Commission. Oklahoma does not allow certain types of fireworks like cherry bombs, bottle rockets, or M-80s. Fireworks can be purchased by anyone 12 years old or older.

A permit is required for all firework displays. Permits must be obtained from the State Fire Marshal, and applications must be submitted at least 10 days prior to the date of the display. Fireworks displays can not be detonated within 500 feet of a school, church, or hospital.

Each year, thousands of adults and children are injured by defective or improperly detonated fireworks. Though 61% of firework-related injuries are burns, fireworks can also cause lacerations, sprains, fractures, and even death. It is important that children are always supervised while using fireworks, as children are twice as likely to be injured by fireworks. In 2015, 26% of emergency-department treated injuries were for children 15 years old or younger, and 42% was for individuals 20 or younger. Young adults between 15 and 19 years old had the highest rate of firework-related injuries for which emergency medical treatment was sought. It’s not just the big fireworks that cause injury. Sparklers account for about one quarter of emergency room visits. Sparklers burn at a very high temperature and pose a significant risk of severe burns.

In addition to personal injury, fireworks account for nearly 18,000 fires each year, resulting in over $30 million in property damage. Fireworks can make for a special holiday tradition and can be done safely. Follow these safety tips to help reduce the risk of injury or property damage this holiday:

• Always supervise children when fireworks are around. Never allow children to detonate fireworks on their own or without adult supervision.
• Check your insurance policy and understand what is covered. Because detonating fireworks is illegal in many Oklahoma cities, your homeowner policy may not cover firework-related property damage.
• Know the wildfire risk in your area. Do not light fireworks if there is a burn ban in effect.
• Keep a bucket of water handy whenever sparklers or firecrackers are being used.
• Do not use homemade fireworks. Use only those that are approved and properly sold by licensed vendors.
• Only light fireworks in a safe place: outdoors and away from any other people or structures.

If you or someone you love has been injured by fireworks, you may be able to recover damages for medical bills, lost income, and other pain and suffering. Laurie Koller has assisted injured people in firework litigation. To find out more about your options and rights, contact Koller Trial Law.