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Hawaii Association for Justice


PO Box 4216 Honolulu, HI 96812

July 2020

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Enjoy a Safe and Hopeful Fourth of July

With most Fourth of July celebrations canceled this year due to the pandemic, many Americans will stage their own fireworks show at home. After everything we’ve been through in 2020, it's no surprise that we’re all looking forward to Independence Day fun and traditions. But before you stage your own ooh- and ahh- inspiring fireworks display, note the safety tips featured in this newsletter. And join us as we reflect on the ideals this country was founded on with confidence that together, we will overcome the challenges we face. Enjoy a safe and hopeful Fourth of July!

Fireworks Safety Can Prevent Injuries, Especially to Children

Fireworks PosterNearly 40% of all serious fireworks injuries happen to kids under 15. Click to expand.

Nothing says summer like a big Fourth of July celebration topped off by an awe-inspiring fireworks display with rockets’ red glare bursting across the sky. It’s as American as small-town parades and backyard barbeques. The problem: fireworks are dangerous and even deadly when handled carelessly.

Each year the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission releases a report on fireworks-related injuries and fatalities from the previous year:

  • 10,000 fireworks-related injuries occurred last year that required emergency room attention, most from June 21 to July 21.
  • 12 people died from fireworks injuries in 2019.
  • 66% of injuries happen to men versus 34% to women, and children under 15 account for nearly 40% of all fireworks injuries.
  • Burns account for a little over half of all fireworks injuries, but blinding, hearing loss, contusions, lacerations and bone fractures can also happen.

Fireworks Sales BOOMING Along with Complaints

The weeks surrounding the Fourth of July are usually punctuated by booms and bangs from Americans using fireworks, like roman candles or firecrackers. But if it seems like there are more fireworks  this year and they are getting louder, you may be right.

One reason is that fireworks sales are booming – up over 100%, according to one national supplier. Cities across the nation are also seeing a dramatic rise in fireworks complaints. Boston recorded a 2,300% increase in calls to police about fireworks since May. Los Angeles sheriff's deputies recently seized a truck carrying $10,000 worth of illegal, more powerful fireworks. New York City has even created a multi-agency task force to identify and stop those supplying illegal fireworks to residents.

So just why are we feeling the fireworks heat this year? Most observers point to COVID-19 and the cancellation of public Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks displays. In response, many Americans may be doubling down on fireworks for private celebrations while blowing off some steam along the way after months of isolation and bad news. Regardless, we are witnessing personal fireworks use on a scale never seen before, and unfortunately, an increasing number of injuries are likely to follow.


Forest FireAlmost 20,0000 fires a year are caused by the improper handling of fireworks.

Fireworks Safety Tips

Here are safety tips to protect yourself and others during your Fourth of July celebrations:

  • Kids should never play with fireworks. Do not let anyone under 18 light fireworks.
  • Buy only legal fireworks, which are easy to spot by the manufacturer’s name and directions for use. Illegal fireworks are unlabeled.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Never try to make your own fireworks.
  • Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of accidents.
  • Stay far away from others setting off fireworks. They can backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even as a joke.
  • Do not hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting.
  • Don’t carry fireworks in your pocket — the friction could set them off.
  • Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves or flammable substances. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that 19,500 fires were caused by fireworks in 2018.
  • Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can.
  • Wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light a “dud.” Wait at least 20 minutes, then dispose of it with others.
  • Avoid alcohol while lighting fireworks. Stay focused and sober.
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