Each year, the Fourth of July holiday in Kern County brings with it swimming, barbecuing and celebration with fireworks.
Independence Day bears not only fun and excitement, but unfortunately, it also can bring chaos and injury. While enjoying the holiday, individuals must remain aware of possible dangers, and helpful tips, to prevent fireworks-related injury. It’s the reason that National Fireworks Safety Month, observed each July, reminds individuals to remain safe throughout the year when handling various forms of fireworks.
Kern County’s annual Fourth of July celebration is not only full of fireworks-related injuries, but is met with many tragic motor vehicle crashes as well, due to those who make the wrong decision to drive under the influence.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles advises Kern County community members to to read various safety tips below related to fireworks and safe driving.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks were the cause of an estimated 11,900 injuries in 2015, and of those, an estimated 8,000 fireworks-related injuries (or 67 percent) were during the one-month period between, from June 19 and July 19. To prevent further injuries, the National Council on Fireworks Safety offers some helpful tips:
- Consumers should purchase fireworks from a reputable company or fireworks stand, check local and state laws for fireworks use in your city, and check all instructions on fireworks packaging before use.
- Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
- Never re-light a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water before you discard it.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down, and place them in a metal trashcan away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
- Ensure all pets and animals are away from fireworks noise.
- With the rise in stress-related disorders affecting American servicemen and women, pay special consideration to individuals who may be sensitive to loud noises in proximity to your fireworks show.
- Report illegal explosives.
The personal injury lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles remain proponents of fireworks safety, and in recent years past have represented victims of fireworks accidents and other burn injury cases. In 2014, attorney David Cohn represented two men who suffered from severe injuries caused in a fireworks accident.
Remain aware of local codes and ordinances in Kern County and assist others in the safety of handling fireworks to make the community a safer place, not only throughout National Fireworks Safety Month, but as a permanent preventative measure throughout the year.
The Bakersfield Californian, too, has a handy guide related to fireworks safety specific to Bakersfield and Kern County, called “Fireworks 411.”
Drinking and Driving
Not only should those in the community be aware of precautions when handling fireworks, all of Kern County can help make Fourth of July a safer celebration for all by planning ahead. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Kern County urges the community to remain aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, and continuously support the goal to end driving under the influence.
To help prepare for the holiday celebration, MADD has provided various helpful tips:
- If your plans include alcohol, whether on land or on water, designate a non-drinking driver to make sure celebrations don’t end in tragedy. Call an Uber, take a taxi or public transportation.
- As a parent, talk to your teens about the dangers of alcohol. Set a firm house rule that there is no drinking under 21 — and that goes for their friends as well.
- General car safety should be part of the plan: wear your seat belt, don’t speed, and for young drivers, don’t drive with too many passengers. Distractions are dangerous, too.
- For boating, many road rules apply. The most important one concerns alcohol. If you’re going to operate a boat, don’t drink. It’s illegal; but more importantly, it’s deadly and dangerous.
- In 2015, 146 were killed in drunk driving crashes over the Fourth of July holiday, representing 36 percent of all traffic fatalities during that period.
- Drunk driving kills more than 10,000 people and injures 290,000 others each year in the United States, and every single crash is preventable.
- Law enforcement will be on patrol throughout the Kern County during this holiday weekend, so make sure you, your family and friends don’t drink and drive.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles continues to support MADD Kern County in the ongoing fight against drinking and driving in our community.
— By Alyssa Wood for Chain | Cohn | Stiles
If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, please contact the lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or at the website chainlaw.com.