The Fourth of July is approaching, and folks around Union County are preparing to celebrate with family, friends, and fireworks. In College Corner, the sound of firecrackers in the streets marks the arrival of summer each year, to mixed reviews from residents. Unfortunately, according to a new report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the number of people injured during this festive holiday has been increasing over the past 15 years.
Between 2006 and 2021, fireworks-related injuries climbed 25%. While severe injuries are not terribly common, at least nine people died in the US last year, and around 11,500 were injured due to incidents involving fireworks. The CPSC report revealed that in 2021, an estimated 8,500 fireworks-related injuries occurred between June 18 and July 18, accounting for 74% of all such injuries that year. Young adults between 20 to 24 years old had the highest rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries. The report also highlighted that in 2021, there were around 1,500 emergency department-treated injuries associated with firecrackers and 1,100 involving sparklers. Hands and fingers were the parts of the body most often injured by fireworks, followed by the head, face, and ears. About 32% of emergency department-treated fireworks-related injuries in 2021 were for burns.
Consumers are urged to celebrate safely by following safety tips, including never allowing young children to play with fireworks, keeping a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, lighting fireworks one at a time and quickly moving away, and never trying to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Verify that fireworks are legal in your area and use fireworks labeled for consumer use only. And finally, avoid using fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Indiana State Police posted the following reminders of Hoosier firework laws to their website:
Only individuals 18 years of age or older may purchase fireworks.
A person 18 years of age or older must be present when anyone younger then 18 is using or possessing fireworks.
Fireworks may be used only on the user’s property, the property of someone who granted permission for fireworks to be discharged, or a place designated by the Indiana State Fire Marshal for the discharge of consumer fireworks.
Fireworks may be discharged only between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. any day except on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and New Years Eve when the times are 9:00 a.m. to midnight. It is important to check with local officials, as local ordinances may restrict the use of fireworks.
A person who violates this law can be charged with a class “C” infraction. However, if a person recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally uses fireworks and the violation causes property damage, they can be charged with a class A misdemeanor. If there is bodily injury, it is enhanced to a Level 6 felony, and if there is death, a Level 5 felony.