Independence Day Safety and Fireworks Laws.
Independence Day arose from our bloody American Revolution. The date chosen to celebrate is July 4, 1776. The real-time remains in dispute. But the United States’ holiday became the official national holiday in 1941. Each year we celebrate another Independence Day.
The purpose is to hearken the birth of American freedom. The flashes and explosions represent the price paid in wounded, killed and maimed to secure that eroding freedom. And this is the reason we look back and enjoy every Independence Day.
The true Significance of this Grand Holiday and Fireworks.
The 4th of July celebrations typically have become more of a summer celebration than the original intent. The men of the Revolutionary War of the 13 colonies declaring their liberation from Great Britain and the Continental Congress voted for freedom. Two days after the Congress’ approval, Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence.
Today 4th of July celebrations begin the day with parades and family get-together. Also, parties, boating, barbecues, and concerts have become a mainstay.
The Rocket’s Red Glare – Bombs Bursting in Air.
The rocket’s red glare and the bombs bursting in air remain a tradition memorializing our many battles for independence from an oppressive, overreaching government. The central authority was taxing us at such a high rate, no one but the King’s Men could make a profit.
An estimated three percent of the populace rose up on behalf of the “fence sitters.” When the king threatened the colonist’s powder houses, the colonists – who considered themselves English – finally broke into a real bloody rebellion. In fact, they even swore an alliance with France, the enemy of all Englishmen.
Firecrackers or Fireworks?
In any event, bombs, rockets, and small arms fire set America free from an oppressive government. By use of the regular and irregular militia (We the People), the outcome was decided. America ultimately recognized certain of the King’s Rights to lands in America in the Paris Treaty of Peace.
“provide for the restitution of all estates, rights, and properties, which have been confiscated belonging to real British subjects” (Loyalists); (Source.)
So some would say we were never actually free from the yoke of England. In any event, America gained enough autonomy to believe itself free.
The Misconception of Dangerous and Unusual.
But as society has “progressed,” the government is again slowly taking away your powerhouses. Some would argue the government is doing exactly what King George did. But in my opinion, it would be dangerous and unusual to carry a rifle openly at a shopping mall. So too, it would be just as wrong to launch bottle rockets in a crowded neighborhood.
This common law principle does not bar the use of powder or any small arms (See also the Second Amendment.) It only says the time, place and manner in which you openly carry the weapon remains an issue.
So most local and state laws prohibit non-licensed firecrackers and exploding mortars. And this is why we now attend organized fireworks shows. But even some of those go bad and bomb attendees with flak and artillery. Deaths happen. Explosives, whether legal or illegal, kill. After all, they are inherently dangerous.
As a result of the spirit of revolution, alcohol, and fireworks are usually part of Independence Day celebrations. Apparently, this can become a dangerous combination.
Due to the dangers, fireworks can pose, The National Council on Fireworks Safety has created a list of safety tips.
- Before purchasing or setting off fireworks check the state and local codes and statutes about the permitted use of this colorful pyrotechnics.
- Read the description and warning labels before lighting fireworks.
- Only use fireworks outside. Also, never use them inside of a dwelling.
- The area where the display will be lit should be away from houses, outbuildings, cars, trees and debris that could catch fire.
- Wear eye protection when setting off fireworks.
- Do not light fireworks while drunk.
- A bucket of water and hose should be near where the fireworks will be lit.
- When lighting fireworks, move away quickly.
- If a firecracker is a dud, it is suggested to wait 20 minutes and then immerse it into the bucket of water.
- Firework disposal should be done by wetting them down and then placing the remnants in a metal garbage container. The container should be away from any combustible materials or structures until the following day.
- Supervise children even though items like sparklers may seem harmless they can cause severe burns.
- Fireworks of any kind should never be carried in pockets.
- Firecrackers of any type should never get exploded in glass or metal containers.
- M-80’s and quarter sticks are illegal explosives and should be reported to the police or fire department.
- It is dangerous to experiment with homemade fireworks and should not be done.
- It is against FAA regulations to transport or possess fireworks in baggage.
Fireworks Accident Statistics.
Over 10,000 fireworks injuries took place last year according to research. Also, 11 people died from firework-related incidences. Three of them involved those not engaged in or watching displays. In other words, these deaths happened to innocent bystanders. One young woman died after someone tossed a lit sparkler into her apartment window. So she died from smoke inhalation.
The other two deaths also had no involvement in a fireworks display. Lit fireworks set their roof ablaze. So making all these laws did nothing to protect these decedents. These were all legal. In the three cases, it was people acting unreasonably.
This ignition hazard is one reason most residential areas ban bottle-rockets and flying fireworks. But this has never stopped people from throwing or launching fireworks in the air. The statistics show that sparklers cause children under the age of five accounts for approximately 1/3 of all fireworks injuries and 23% of fireworks injuries.
Fireworks and the Law.
The State Fire Marshal and other legal entities determine the laws for the use of fireworks. Some states make specific types of fireworks legal and in some counties fireworks of any kind are illegal. States will have precise rules about the types of detonation allowed. So they often disallow those that “explode” to scatter a flak pattern. So most explosions are illegal.
Also, the can’t launch, even if they don’t technically explode. So ground-based or handheld fireworks can’t propel themselves in the air. Also, regulations exist barring chemical compounds containing more than 100 grams capable of a spark. In many states including California, the illegal firecrackers include ones such as Roman candles, skyrockets, or any fireworks that contain explosives or flammable compounds.
Southern California Fireworks Accident Lawyers
Accidents can happen in the vicinity of fireworks even when a person is a bystander enjoying the show. These mishaps can result in severe injuries resulting in costly medical expenses, loss of income, pain, and suffering, loss of quality of life and other damages.
The seasoned attorneys at Ehline Law Firm have the experience necessary to help you recover financial compensation if negligence caused the harm suffered. Contact our lawyers toll-free at (888) 400-9721 to discuss your case and let our skilled attorneys evaluate your claim with a free consultation.
“Fireworks Safety Tips.” The National Council on Fireworks Safety. Accessed March 11, 2017. https://www.fireworkssafety.org/safety-tips/.