On the brink of Fourth of July weekend, our Hickory injury lawyers want to remind everyone to celebrate responsibly and leave the array of colors in the sky to the professionals this holiday weekend.
The threat of a North Carolina fireworks accident can be dangerous not only to those performing the exhibition but to those who sit and watch the spectacular flooding of lights falling from the sky. If injured by a defective product this weekend or at any time throughout the summer, contact North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers.
The Charlotte Observer reminds us of the tragedy that happened one year ago on Ocracoke Island that killed four people when a truckload of fireworks exploded. In light of last year’s horrifying event, North Carolina is placing new restrictions on pyrotechnic operators this year.
A new law as of February 1, 2011, requires all pyrotechnic operators to be 21 years-old, complete a training course, pass a written exam, and pay $200 to earn a three-year operating license. Legislators have made an exception for those not able to complete the course by July 4th to acquire a temporary 30-day license by paying the fire marshal’s office $25 and providing they have performed six North Carolina fireworks displays in the last 10 years.
“We want communities to have fireworks displays and pay tribute to the holiday,” said North Carolina Fire Marshal Kerry Hall. “Prior to this law, it was up to local jurisdictions to decide what a pyrotechnics expert is. Now we have a minimum benchmark for everyone in the state.”
South Carolina has been practicing fireworks safety since 1991 when a similar fireworks operator licensing law was put into place. South Carolina offers several different options for pyrotechnic licenses which include inside shooting, outside shooting, motion picture companies, or trainees.
The licensing fees range from $100 for trainee licenses to $300 for an unrestricted license. All firework technicians must be 21 years or older in South Carolina unless they are a trainee in which the minimum age requirement is 18. Licensed operators are required to take training and a written exam every two years by the South Carolina Fire Marshal’s office.
The Hickory Daily Record reports that last year there were roughly 1,900 people treated for fireworks injuries at hospitals nationwide in the 30 days surrounding July 4th. There were an approximate total of 8,600 fireworks injuries for the entire year in 2010. Firecrackers, bottle rockets and sparklers often cause eye and ear damage or burns to the face, hands or head. Firecrackers and sparklers are legal in North Carolina so Hickory Fire Department is conducting surprise inspections to local or retail outlets selling fireworks. Making sure fireworks retailers are not selling anything illegal and following all safety protocols is a priority.
For a safe Independence Day, Hickory Fire Department offers the following safety tips:
- Follow and read all manufacturers’ instructions on the fireworks.
- Never light fireworks inside your home.
- Stop, drop and roll if your clothing is on fire.
- Never light fireworks near buildings or dry grass areas.
- Never place fireworks in metal or glass containers before lighting.
- If a firework malfunctions, throw it away. Trying to re-light could cause an unexpected explosion.
- Only buy fireworks from a reliable dealer.
- Always have water handy in case someone gets burned or something catches on fire.
- Children should never be left alone around fireworks. They are not toys and should not be shot at someone.
There are laws in place with regard to fireworks operations, so if you have been injured in a fireworks accident in North or South Carolina, contact the experienced injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices, P.A. Call for a free initial consultation to discuss your rights at 1-800-887-1965.
New Fireworks Law in Place, by Mark Hensch, Charlotte Observer
Hickory Firefighters Urge Fireworks Caution, by Richard Gould, Hickory Daily Record
More Blog Entries:
North Carolina boating accidents common on Lake Norman, elsewhere, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, June 1, 2011
Holiday Weekends a Dangerous Time for Car Accidents in Greenville, Anderson, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, April 26, 2011