As July 4th nears, many South Carolinians are gearing up to celebrate by purchasing fireworks. But this is also a time when many people risk serious fireworks injuries.

According to a study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 65 percent of all 2011 fireworks injuries occurred in the 30-day period surrounding the 4th. More than half of the injuries stemmed from the unexpected ignition of a device or from people not using fireworks properly. Most of the injuries were burns to the hands and head, which included the eyes, face and ears. Sparklers, firecrackers and aerial devices accounted for most of the injuries.

South Carolina Fireworks Statistics

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has reported these statistics related to fireworks injuries in 2010:

  • 182 people received non-fatal injuries such as serious burns, contusions and other types of trauma.
  • 177 people required treatment in emergency rooms, including five who were admitted into hospitals.
  • 83 percent of the people injured were male.
  • 23 percent were under 18.
  • 39 percent were between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • 34 percent were between the ages of 35 and 64.
  • 4 percent were 65 or older.
  • 51 percent of the injuries occurred during the summer.

The department recommends that if you’re injured by fireworks, you should seek medical attention right away.

Safety Tips

To stay safe, it’s always best to leave fireworks displays to the professionals. However, fireworks are legal in South Carolina and you’re allowed to light them as long as you follow state laws.

You should always keep these safety tips from the National Safety Council in mind when you are around fireworks.

  • Be sure to read and follow the directions on every package of fireworks.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Never let young children handle fireworks.
  • If you decide to let older children use fireworks, make sure they are under close adult supervision.
  • All fireworks should be lit outdoors in a clear area that’s away from other people, houses and flammable materials.
  • Light only one device at a time.
  • Make sure you and your family are at a safe distance after lighting any fireworks.
  • Do not point or throw fireworks at people under any circumstances.
  • Running or horseplay should not occur when fireworks are in use.
  • Do not ignite devices that are in a container.
  • If fireworks malfunction, never relight or handle them in any way. Instead, douse and soak them in water before safely discarding the fireworks.
  • Always have a bucket of water nearby so that you can quickly extinguish fireworks that don’t go off.

Need Legal Help?

Independence Day is supposed to be a time of family fun and festivities. But it can turn into a tragic situation if fireworks are used carelessly and cause serious injury or death to innocent onlookers. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a South Carolina fireworks accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact our South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm. Call (877) 941-2615 or use our online form so we can offer you advice about your rights.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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