Ahhh the 4th of July, one of my favorite holidays; friends, grilling, patriotic music, and fireworks. How I remember the evenings at the block parties where the whole neighborhood would get together, play loud music, and set off hundreds of various types and sizes of fireworks. Of course those were the days when it was legal and you could find a fireworks stand on almost every corner. Today in many, maybe even most cites, it is illegal to possess or use fireworks.
Each year Americans spend 201 million dollars on fireworks. We cause 20 million dollars worth of property loss and 7,000 people have to go the emergency room.
Of course injuries and property damage means insurance, so how would your home insurance apply.
First be sure you are obeying local laws! Your home insurance policy will have wording excluding liability from illegal acts. If you shoot your Piccolo Pete on your neighbors shake roof, causing a fire, it is possible that your home insurance would not provide liability coverage.
If fireworks are legal in your city then the property damage or injuries caused by your use of fireworks should be covered under your home insurance policy as long as it was not an intentional act. If you never liked your neighbor’s tree and you use the 4th of July as your excuse to bring it down with a bottle rocket, that would be an intentional act and not covered by insurance.
If you do plan on dazzling your neighbors with your fireworks, here are a few safety tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:
- Obey the law. Don’t use fireworks that are illegal in your state.
- Keep your pets away from fireworks. Pets have sensitive hearing and the noise can hurt them.
- Keep fireworks away from children. Every year children lose fingers in fireworks accidents, and even sparklers burn at up to 2,000 degrees, making them extremely dangerous for children.
- Safety first. Be sure other adults and children are out of range before lighting fireworks. Never throw or point fireworks at others.
- Always read and follow the directions for fireworks carefully.
- Use fireworks outdoors only.
- Use a flat, hard surface like a driveway. Avoid lighting fireworks on grass or in containers.
- Use an open area. An open area will present far fewer fire hazards. Keep children at least 30 feet away from where you are lighting the fireworks. Explain to children that fireworks are not toys and can cause the loss of fingers or hands.
- Take it slow. Light only one at a time.
- Wear eye protection. Don’t put any body part near a lit firework.
- Don’t use malfunctioning items. Never attempt to relight a “dud.”
- Have water close by. Have a fire extinguisher, hose, or bucket of water handy for emergencies. Drop used fireworks into a bucket of water.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”