With Independence Day just a few weeks away, many people will be planning their festivities around barbeques and fireworks displays. Due to a law signed by Governor Cuomo last fall, residents of many New York counties now have the opportunity to legally purchase sparklers, or other “novelty” fireworks to enhance their celebrations. New York’s “Sparkler Law” allows individuals to purchase commercial “sparkling devices” two periods per year, including June 1-July 5; and December 26-January 2. Under the amended law, the fireworks that may be purchased legally include: cylindrical fountains, cone fountains, wooden sparklers, party poppers, and snappers. Other fireworks such as bottle rockets, spinners, roman candles, and aerial devices still remain illegal, unless you obtain a permit.
Even though they are now legal, with temperatures that can reach 2,000 degrees, sparklers can still be very dangerous. In 2012, 8,700 individuals sought care at hospital emergency rooms due to injuries caused by fireworks. 25% of those injuries resulted from the use of sparklers. In addition, according to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks were the cause of 17,800 fires nationwide in 2011.
Those who operate the fireworks, or bystanders, can be injured if proper safety measures are not taken when lighting fireworks. Even if you are lighting legal fireworks such as sparklers, it is necessary to take some precautions including:
•· Wear eye protection
•· Carefully follow directions on the packaging
•· Do not allow young children to play with fireworks
•· Do not use fireworks under the influence of alcohol or drugs
•· Make sure there is a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher on hand
•· Only use one sparkler at a time
•· Only purchase from registered retailers
•· Douse used fireworks completely with water
Among the injuries that can occur from fireworks are burns, lacerations, eye injuries, hand injuries, disfigurement, permanent scarring, and even death. Although it is rare to be injured at a public fireworks display, it is not unheard of.
If you have been injured by fireworks, you may be entitled to recover damages based on the theories of negligence or products liability. Contact an experienced attorney who can get you the compensation you deserve. Call the attorneys at Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP at (212)571-7171.