WSP Says Fireworks in Washington Caused Hundreds of Injuries in 2012

The Washington State Patrol (WSP) issued a news release this week to bring attention to the risk and prevalence of serious and sometimes permanent injuries from fireworks in Washington state.

According to the WSP, officials received reports of approximately 226 injuries resulting from fireworks use in Washington last year. Of those injuries, a majority were caused by males between the ages of 8 and 21 and most of the injuries occurred on July 4th – Independence Day.

There were also approximately 128 incidental fires caused by fireworks on or around the July 4th celebrations last year, and seven of them individually accounted for $880,500 in damages. There were no indications from the WSP as to whether there were any additional injuries caused by those fires.

Washington state’s laws regarding fireworks have progressed over the years and are much more strict today in terms of what types of devices are allowed in the state. Despite these laws, 26 fires and an additional 64 injuries were reportedly caused by or resulted from the use of fireworks and other devices that are explicitly illegal to own or possess.

Sparkler bombs – a homemade device that is created by wrapping industrial tape around a bundle of sparklers, which puts them under a lot of pressure and creates a large explosion when they are lit – are also an area of concern for WSP officials. There were reportedly seven individual sparkler bomb incidents that led to five fires or explosions, and two of those incidents resulted in facial, torso and hand injuries.

For the entire news release from the Washington State Patrol, see below:

There were 354 fireworks-related injuries and fires reported to the State Fire Marshal’s Office in 2012 by fire departments and hospitals.  Of the 354 reports received, there were 128 fires and 226 injuries.  The majority of these incidents occur on July 4th.  Most incidents were cause by males between 8 and 21 years of age.  The incidents of greatest concern are:

  • 7 residential fires totaling $880,500 in loss, 1 was caused by an illegal device, 3 were caused by legal fireworks and 3 were caused by an unknown type of firework device.
  • 26 fires and 64 injuries were caused by devices which are illegal to own or possess in Washington State.
  • 7 sparkler bomb incidents that included 5 fires/explosions and 2 causing facial, torso and hand injuries.  These devices are considered improvised explosive devices which are illegal to manufacture and possess. 

Parents Need to Know:  Supervision of kids 14 and under is critical in reducing emergency responses to fireworks incidents.  Talk to your kids about fireworks and safety.  Set family boundaries, only adults should light fireworks.  Store fireworks in a secure location out of the reach and sight of curious children.  Personal fireworks require personal responsibility.

Remember the three B’s of fireworks safety: 

  • Be Prepared—Have water nearby and put pets indoors,
  • Be Safe—Only adults should light fireworks, and
  • Be Responsible—clean up fireworks debris.

For more information about fireworks safety, public fireworks displays and the fireworks laws for your area, check the Celebrate Safely website at http://www.wsp.wa.gov/fire/fireworks.htm.

Chris Davis
Top-rated, award-winning, attorney practicing wrongful death & serious injury law in Seattle.
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