4th of July Safety Tips

June 30 2023 | Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
  • 4th of July Safety Tips

    Ensuring a Safe Fourth of July Celebration

    On July 4th, 1776, our nation established its separation from Great Britain by signing the Declaration of Independence. Since that day, the Fourth of July has been and continues to be a time for families and loved ones to gather and celebrate the birth of our nation and America’s independence. As we come together to commemorate Independence Day, it’s essential to keep safety at the forefront of our minds. Unfortunately, amidst the excitement, serious injuries tend to occur. In this blog post, we will shed light on potential dangers surrounding the Fourth of July holiday and ways to avoid them. By being aware of these risks and taking necessary precautions, we can help ensure a safe and enjoyable Independence Day for everyone.

    Common Fourth of July Injuries

    According to Complete Care, there are seven common types of injuries across the country that are seen in ERs more often than others on the Fourth of July. At the top of the list are hand injuries and face injuries – both due to the extreme danger of lighting and setting off fireworks. Next in line is car accidents, often caused by the vast amount of drunk drivers on the roads throughout the day. Following closely behind are swimming accidents and boating accidents. It should come as no surprise that people want to celebrate the holiday around water, it does occur in the middle of summer after all.  However, when alcohol gets involved and/or children are unattended, accidents are bound to occur. At the bottom of the list, but just as common, are dehydration, heat stroke, and food poisoning – all due to the high temperatures historically seen on the Fourth of July.

    Firework-Related Injuries on the Fourth of July

    Based on data published by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), serious injuries caused by fireworks have been steadily increasing over the past 15 years. Between 2006 and 2021, injuries caused by fireworks increased by a staggering 25%. In 2021 alone, over 11,500 people were treated in emergency rooms due to a firework-related injury.  Unfortunately, the individuals most likely to be injured tend to be children and teens.

    Each year, countless individuals suffer injuries and property damage due to negligence and/or the blatant mishandling of fireworks. In addition to injuries caused by being struck by a firework, there are also many burn injuries sustained due to the extreme amount of fires started by fireworks. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) there were an estimated 12,264 fires started by fireworks in 2021. These fires caused many civilian injuries and a large sum of property damage – totaling to about $59 million.

    Our team handled a firework-related injury case in 2020 when a young woman was struck by a bottle rocket, causing permanent eye damage. We were able to obtain a $700,000 settlement and hold the negligent party accountable for her injuries. To avoid the multiple different firework-related injuries sustained from unfortunate incidents, here are some essential safety guidelines:

    Attend Public Firework Displays

    Instead of lighting off your own fireworks, consider attending professionally organized displays. These events are conducted by experts who are expected to adhere to strict safety protocols, minimizing the risk of injuries. Many Fourth of July firework shows put on by professionals are free to attend, so you can avoid the extra expense of paying for your own fireworks. There is no shortage of public firework displays throughout Kentucky and Tennessee. A few options are below:

    Keep a Safe Distance

    Whether you’re watching a professional display or setting off fireworks in an approved area, ensure that you maintain a safe distance. Follow all signage and barriers put in place for your safety. Even if you think a firework is extinguished, there’s always a chance it could still go off. Never approach a firework that has failed to ignite.

    Supervise Children Closely

    Children should never be allowed to handle fireworks. Even seemingly harmless fireworks like sparklers can cause severe burns or injuries if not handled properly. Keep a close eye on children and teach them about the dangers associated with fireworks. Regardless of how cool they think the fireworks are, you must always keep them far away from where fireworks are being lit.

    Be Prepared for Emergencies

    Aside from injuring yourself, if you decide to set off your own fireworks, you run the risk of injuring others and/or catching property on fire. If you decide to light off your own fireworks, it is important prepare the area with all of the necessary safety precautions, and also be ready for mishaps. When preparing your area, be sure to have all fireworks anchored down to prevent any chance of them tipping over. It is also important to have a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher, or a hose nearby in case anything catches fire. Prompt action can help prevent a small mishap from escalating into a major incident.

    Roadway Injuries on the Fourth of July

    Many families plan vacations or travel to see loved ones throughout the Fourth of July holiday. In fact, it is estimated that 43.2 million people will drive to their destinations in 2023, 2.4% more than 2022 and 4% more than 2019, setting a record high. Sadly, the high volume of travel on the 4th, similar to other holidays, results in an uptick in motor vehicle wrecks. Some of these collisions are simply due to the increase of traffic, and others due to the increase of drivers who are under the influence while being on the roadways.

    According to the NHTSA, between 2017 and 2021, 1,460 drivers were killed in motor vehicle crashes over the Fourth of July holiday period. Of those incidents, 38% of the drivers killed were drunk.

    Many wrecks during the holidays are caused by carelessness or negligence behind the wheel. While you can’t control the actions of drivers around you, there are steps you can take to limit your own risk and to protect the other drivers on the road. Here are a few driving tips to help prevent an auto accident this Fourth of July.

    Don’t Drive During Peak Hours

    Independence Day often sees its share of traffic jams. When roads are busier, the chance of being involved in a collision increases. Especially when traveling with others, it is easy to get distracted and potentially be involved in any type of accident, specifically a rear-end collision. Avoid traveling at peak hours to limit the time spent near and around other drivers. More drivers tend to hit the road mid-morning or afternoon, so it is worth considering beginning your travel in the early morning or the previous night instead.

    Avoid Road Rage

    Congestion on the road can bring out frustration and aggression in some drivers. If you spot someone driving aggressively or exhibiting road rage, stay calm. Don’t feed into their anger by reacting or driving recklessly. Leave some distance between yourself and the aggressive driver, and allow those who are speeding to pass. It’s not a competition, take your time and arrive to your destination safely.

    Drive Sober

    Don’t get behind the wheel while buzzed or intoxicated. If you’ll be drinking on the 4th, have a designated driver or a rideshare plan in place before you even take a sip of alcohol. Otherwise, plan to stay put until you’re completely sober – meaning the next day. When consuming alcohol, keep in mind that if you feel even slightly different, you’ll drive different.

    Drive Distraction-Free

    Phone down, eyes up. Texting and driving is illegal in both Kentucky and Tennessee. Driving distracted – including texting, talking on the phone, changing the radio, eating behind the wheel, or handling children and pets – can easily cause an accident. If it’s something that can’t wait, pull over (when it’s safe to do so), then take care of whatever urgent matter needs your attention.

    No matter the cause of the car accident, if you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, our team of experienced car accident lawyers can help.

    Water-Related Injuries on the Fourth of July

    Since the Fourth of July holiday is right smack in the middle of summer, it is common for individuals to spend their holiday celebration surrounded by water. Whether it be a swimming in a pool or going boating on a lake, injuries and accidents consistently occur.

    One of the main accidents and leading threats for children on the 4th is drowning. These incidents can occur in a pool and/or on the lake, and are often due to lack of supervision or instances of impaired supervision. In addition to an impairment affecting an individual’s ability to supervise a child, it can also affect their boat-driving skills. Operating a boat under the influence is most common on the Fourth of July and Labor Day, which also tend to be the same holidays of which we see the most boating injuries.

    Regardless of the water venue you are celebrating at, an injury can easily occur, especially if proper precautions are not taken. Here are some vital safety measures to keep in mind:

    Wear a Life Jacket

    Children and those who are not strong swimmers should always wear a life jacket – on a boat and around a pool. Don’t rely on water wings, inner tubes, or other inflatable pool toys as lifesaving devices, as they can easily deflate or cause a child to tip into the water. A certified life vest that covers the torso is optimal for preventing drownings.

    Supervise Swimmers

    Spotting someone who is drowning is difficult, especially when swimming in a crowded body of water. Never leave children or those who are not strong swimmers unattended in the water, even for a moment. Drowning can happen in an instant!

    Install Barriers around the Pool

    Fencing or enclosures around pools are essential to prevent unsupervised access, especially for young children. Ensure that the barriers are secure, tall enough to prevent unwanted entry, and block all access to the water. This barrier can prevent children from outside of your household wondering into the pool area and getting injured. If it happens on your property, you can potentially be held responsible, so it is important to take the necessary steps in preventing an incident.

    Know First Aid

    When moments count, first aid and CPR can help save lives. While knowing first aid or CPR is no substitute for emergency medical care, it can provide lifesaving support while waiting for first responders. Consider enrolling in a first aid course this summer, it could save a life.

    Sober Swimming

    If you plan to operate a boat or swim with your family, you should avoid alcohol consumption. Driving a boat under the influence of alcohol is just as bad as operating a vehicle under the influence. Your reaction time, focus, and decision-making are all impaired when under the influence. To protect yourself and the others on the boat and in the pool, stay sober or make sure another individual can drive the boat and/or watch the children.

    Swimming pool accidents and boating accidents are all too common – but are also preventable.

    Get Hughes & Coleman

    While the Fourth of July can be a fun time and cause for celebration, remember to prioritize safety and take necessary precautions to prevent injuries. If you or someone you know experiences an injury during the holiday due to someone else’s negligence, our dedicated team is here to help. We have over 35 years of experience representing injured victims throughout Kentucky and Tennessee.

    Whether you’re harmed in a car wreck, on someone else’s property (premises liability), in a water-related injury, or through any other means, we can provide legal guidance and support.

    Get Hughes & Coleman and Get It Done!

    From our family to yours, we wish you a safe, happy, and memorable Fourth of July! Happy Independence Day!

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