South Carolina is famous for fireworks. Stands, tents, outlets, and warehouses along the interstate sell bottle rockets, sparklers, and Roman candles of all shapes and sizes to people excited about celebrating the upcoming holiday. South Carolina permits the sale and use of nearly all consumer-grade fireworks, making it one of the most firework-friendly states in the nation; visitors from surrounding states often cross the border just to purchase fireworks because they are banned in North Carolina and Georgia.
It is estimated that over $600 million is spent on consumer fireworks each year in the U.S., and the Fourth of July is the most popular holiday for the purchase of fireworks. The average family spends a couple hundred dollars on fireworks each Independence Day. Some spend as little as $20 to $30; some go all in with a $2,000 to $10,000 budget on a backyard display. Many of the more expensive sets of fireworks are also more dangerous. These include the 500 Gram Cakes – each containing the legal limit of pyrotechnic material – which shoot high into the air and produce hot, bright explosions. These large sets of fireworks can cost as much as $300 per cake.
Another unfortunate and often unexpected expense is a large medical bill after a fireworks mishap . FEMA estimates about 8,600 people visited the emergency room for firework-related injuries in 2010. Too often, these explosive materials are handled improperly and result in blindness or loss of limbs. While firecrackers, bottle rockets, and sparklers are the main source of these types of injuries, all types of fireworks legally available in South Carolina have caused serious injury – even death. More than half of all fireworks injuries involve the fingers, hands, and arms as people mistakenly try to re-ignite or pick up “dud” fireworks. Hospitalization for fireworks injuries can cost several thousands of dollars; hundreds of thousands if a limb must be amputated.
To stay safe this July 4th, here are a few fireworks safety tips:
- Do not allow children to handle or play with fireworks.
- Do not, under any circumstances, try to re-light or pick up a “dud” firework that does not go off.
- Do not attempt to create or light homemade or illegal fireworks.
- Always have a source of water – a bucket or hose – to put out any flames or fuses.
- Light fireworks one at a time, and quickly step back to a safe distance until the firework goes off.
- Do not aim or throw fireworks in the general direction of other people, animals, trees/bushes, or houses.
- Do not light fireworks in your hand – place them on the ground before lighting the fuse.
- Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before discarding them in a trash can.
The legal team at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers wishes you a Happy Independence Day! Stay safe!