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Celebrating the Fourth of July is one of the best ways to welcome summer. This national holiday in the United States is one of the most eagerly awaited events of the year. There are numerous ways to have fun on the Fourth of July, including outdoor events like pool parties, backyard BBQs, and fireworks displays. If safety is not prioritized at these events, the holiday can also bring about catastrophe.

These Fourth of July safety recommendations from our personal injury attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you enjoy Independence Day safely.

The Most Dangerous US Holiday

Over the Fourth of July weekend, the National Safety Council (NSC) predicts that over 619 people will pass away on the road and over 70,600 will have nonfatal injuries for which they will seek medical attention. The Fourth of July is the deadliest holiday of the year in the United States, and it is not only because of traffic accidents. When everyone is in the mood to party with explosives and safety is put on the back burner, unintended injuries and mishaps can happen in a matter of seconds.

Additionally, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year is the one before the holiday. Accident risk is multiplied as a result of increased traffic and airport passenger flow. Add alcohol and/or drugs to this and you have a recipe for disaster.

Untitled-design-44-200x300Fireworks Safety: Know the Laws

On the Fourth of July, Roman candles, airborne fireworks, fountains, and other novelty firecrackers are allowed to be set off in Florida. On all other days of the year, all loud or projectile fireworks are strictly forbidden.

You can read more about fireworks safety here.

Grill and Burn Injuries

On July Fourth, careless use of pyrotechnics is the primary cause of most burn injuries. Over the holiday, improper grilling can also result in life-threatening burn injuries. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that from 2017 to 2021, there were 22,155 emergency room visits annually as a result of grill-related injuries.

Here are a few grill safety tips that can keep you and your guests safe this Fourth of July holiday:

  • Never leave a grill unattended. Always make sure an adult is watching any open flames—preferably someone who is sober.
  • Place the grill outside in a well-ventilated location at least 10 feet away from buildings, trees, or anything else that can easily catch fire.
  • Do not light coals that are already on fire with lighter fluid.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.


If you or someone you love suffers a burn injury as a result of someone else’s careless behavior, make sure to you make getting medical care your number one priority and then contact our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton.

Pool Safety

A backyard pool party can increase the excitement of a Fourth of July party and keep everyone cool from the heat of the summer. However, if the necessary precautions to ensure safety are not taken, swimming pool mishaps can happen.

Make sure all younger swimmers are well watched while in the water, and forbid any rough play. When planning a pool party, consider the level of experience of each swimmer. Any games and pool gadgets that pose serious safety dangers should be banned. Additionally, make sure there are enough of life jackets and other flotation devices that are Coast Guard approved are available in case of emergency.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when having people over for a pool party:

  • Never allow someone to swim alone. It is always better to have another person nearby who can assist in case there is a drowning incident.
  • Never run near the pool. This is one of the most common reasons for slip and fall accidents.
  • Never dive. Most backyard swimming pools are not deep enough for safe head-first diving.
  • Stay alert. Pay attention to what is going on around you so you can help, if needed, or take the right precautions to prevent any injuries.
  • Have a CPR-trained adult present in the case of emergency.
  • Try to keep people away from the pool who are obviously drunk.

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Do you have a backyard party planned with plenty of fireworks for Fourth of July weekend? Understanding what is and is not permitted in Florida is your first step.

Since the beginning of the century, restrictions regulating fireworks have been significantly relaxed. Some fireworks are permitted everywhere, apart from Massachusetts, where it is unlawful to purchase, sell, or import consumer fireworks from other states. In many states, fireworks can be launched off the days before and following big holidays.

Florida is one of them.

On the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, Floridians are permitted to light off the types of fireworks sold at roadside shops, including Roman candles, aerial fireworks, fountains, and other novelty firecrackers. All loud or projectile fireworks are strictly prohibited on all other days of the year.

However, there are some areas where there are restrictions on fireworks. While the state of Florida permits the use of consumer fireworks, local governments have the authority to enact tighter regulations that take precedence over state law. Local fire officials may also forbid them when there is a severe drought or heavy winds.

Untitled-design-43-200x300According to the most recent available emergency department statistics gathered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks injuries increased by 25 percent between 2006 and 2021.

Injuries from fireworks resulted in the treatment of around 11,500 patients in emergency rooms in 2021, compared to 15,600 patients in 2020 when pandemic restrictions forced many to stay at home. According to the Consumer Product Safety Association, nine individuals died from fireworks-related injuries in 2021, six of which were caused by improper usage of explosives and one by an issue with a mortar launch. In 2020, there were 26 reported fatalities from fireworks.

According to the research, the period from June 18 to July 18, 2021, saw 74% of all estimated injuries from fireworks.

There have always been fireworks at Independence Day events. John Adams wrote to his wife on July 4, 1776, the day after the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, telling her this occasion should be forever commemorated with pomp, games, bonfires, whistles, and illuminations.

On July 4, 1777, the first Independence Day fireworks show took place. The Smithsonian Institution asserts that they had only one color available back then, which was orange. The colors of the American flag, as well as other hues, are used to illuminate the sky today.

According to Scientific American, nearly a third of fireworks displays at the beginning of the century were professional shows. Since then, governments have gradually relaxed their restrictions on fireworks, in part to recover lost tax money from citizens who traveled across state borders to purchase fireworks in states with looser regulations but also due to inadequate enforcement.

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sparklers-828570_1280-300x200Floridians are legally able to celebrate the Fourth of July by lighting off fireworks this year. While this might be great news to some, some medical professionals and others who have had life-changing experiences from fireworks injuries want to warn everyone of the hazards fireworks can bring. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill back in April that made it legal for Floridians to light off fireworks on three holidays: New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and of course, the Fourth of July. 

Due to the pandemic shutting down many big fireworks displays, it is likely that we will see an increase of people having their own backyard, or front yard, fireworks shows. 


The 4th of July is officially upon us! Most people are focused on planning barbecues, fireworks, pool parties and drinking right about now. While there is nothing wrong with a good party, Independence Day festivities can sometimes lead to severe injuries. What you may not even know is that the 4th of July is one of the deadliest holidays. However, most of the injuries suffered on this holiday are entirely preventable.  

Being aware of the most common injuries can help you avoid them. When you know what to look out for, you can take extra safety precautions and be prepared. The following is a breakdown of the injuries seen on the 4th of July holiday:  

Car Accidents

The National Safety Council estimated that 466 people were killed and 53,600 more suffered serious injuries in auto accidents during the three-day 4th of July holiday period last year. Sadly, this was an all-time record.

Drunk driving is one of the biggest causes of car accidents. If you plan to drink this 4th of July, please make alternative plans for getting home safe. There are too many outlets nowadays (Uber, Lyft, taxis, DDs, etc.) for you to not be able to avoid driving drunk. If you cannot find a ride, then stay put! Don’t jeopardize your life or anyone else’s because you had too much to drink.  

Fireworks Injuries

Fireworks are fun, but also quite dangerous! If you want our advice: leave the fireworks to the professionals!

If you’re planning a holiday fireworks show, you  should be aware that not all fireworks are legal in Florida. Even if you see it at a store or roadside stand, this does not mean that it is legal to buy or use it.

The only fireworks legal for use by consumers who don’t possess a special permit are sparklers. If you’re unsure of what fireworks are legal, the Florida Fire Marshall publishes a full list of legal sparklers each year, and you can view the list here.

Please keep in mind that in Florida, possession or use of illegal fireworks is classified as a misdemeanor. Violating this law can result in fines up to $1,000 and up to one year behind bars.

Heat Stroke

It is hot! If you stay outside too long in the hot sun, you could be at risk for dehydration and heat stroke. If you feel weak, faint, confused, dizzy, or have a headache, this is a sign to get to a shaded area and drink some water.  

Swimming Injuries

Swimming and alcohol do not mix. When people become drunk and are near large bodies of water or a swimming pool, they can make poor judgement calls that can result in serious injuries, or even death.

Make sure all children are supervised by an adult when swimming. Drowning accidents and other tragedies can occur in the blink of an eye.

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A man lost most of his right hand in a fireworks accident in Leesburg earlier this month, according to Lake County deputies.

The incident occurred at a home on the 2500 block of Virginia Drive.

Witnesses told deputies that while in the home’s garage, the man tried to re-light a mortar-style firework that he thought was a “dud.” He picked it up and attempted to throw it into the driveway when it exploded, a Sheriff’s Office report said.

Police believe it either exploded in his hand or near his hand. He had to be transported to a specialty facility.  

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2014 there were at least 11 nonoccupational fireworks-related deaths, and an estimated 10,500 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Nearly 74 percent of those injured by fireworks were men or boys.

Under Florida state law, only sparklers, approved by the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, are legal for consumer usage. It is illegal to use exploding and/or flying fireworks in Florida, which include: shells and mortars, multiple tube devices, Roman candles, rockets and firecrackers.

It is important to note that you should never attempt to re-light, alter or fix any “dud” firework. If a firework fails to function when ignited, it is best to let it stand for at least five minutes, then immerse it in water. The item failed to function for some reason, so if you try to light it again, you could create a dangerous situation. It is best to dispose of the item properly, so that you and everyone nearby stays free from harm.

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Our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to wish everyone a very happy Fourth of July! The Fourth of July holiday is usually centered around fun, and many of us celebrate the long weekend with friends and family, but like many other holidays, risks of accidents and injuries tend to increase during this time.

To help you keep yourself and your loved ones safe this weekend, we would like for everyone to review the below safety tips:

Firework Safety

Many people around the state of Florida want to light of a few fireworks of their own, regardless of the fact that Florida law prohibits any fireworks that fly through the air or explode — such as Roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars — for recreational use. If you plan to light off your own, remember these important tips:

  • Always follow instructions and never provide fireworks to small children.
  • Use fireworks in a safe area and never throw or point fireworks toward people, vehicles, structures, or flammable materials.
  • Do not light multiple fireworks at once and never attempt to relight a “dud” firework that did not go off the first time.

Drunk Driving

Sadly, drunk driving accidents, injuries, and deaths are consistently high during Fourth of July weekend. If you plan on celebrating ‘Merica’s Birthday with a few cocktails, make sure to drink responsibly or plan a safe ride home. Designate a sober driver, or call a cab or transportation service like Uber or Lyft. Remember, law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for drunk and/or drugged motorists.

Grilling Safety

Barbecues are always a Fourth of July staple. Did you know that numerous people suffer injuries when barbecuing on charcoal and gas grills? Make sure to never grill indoors,  refrain from adding lighter fluid when charcoal has already been ignited, and always follow instructions.

Water Safety

It’s hot in Florida! Most Floridians and visitors to our state will be by the beach, lake, or enjoying the water at backyard pool parties this weekend. When having fun near or in the water, safety should be your top priority. Adults should always supervise children and you should drink responsibly, as well as have an emergency action plan in case something goes awry.

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The National Safety Council delegates the months of June and July to focus on fireworks safety, since fireworks injuries are most common between June 1 and July 4 each year.

Eye injuries are a noteworthy concern when it comes to projectile fireworks like bottle rockets and Roman candles. According to Prevent Blindness America, eye injuries are common with fireworks, as are burns and other very serious injuries. Most of those who suffer fireworks-related eye injuries are children under the age of 15 since they do not fully understand the dangers of these hot explosives, but it is important to point out that anyone can be harmed by fireworks.

fireworksLast year there were eight deaths and about 11,400 injuries nationally from fireworks, according to a recent report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. To help protect yourself and those you love from fireworks injuries this summer, please familiarize yourself with the following safety tips:

  • Check the fireworks laws and ordinances where you live. In the state of Florida, consumer fireworks are illegal. However, state lawmakers passed an exception to this rule allowing fireworks to be purchased by farms and fish hatcheries. In order for vendors to sell fireworks to customers, all they have to do is have purchasers sign forms saying they’re buying under an agricultural or other exemption.
  • Never let children play with fireworks. While most people tend to think hand-held fireworks like sparklers are safe enough, know that these can reach temperatures over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause serious burn injuries. Do not let your child play with, hold or light off fireworks of any kind.
  • If you are going to light off fireworks, make sure to set up a fire-resistant area. Everyone else should be kept several yards away from this area. Also, have a fire extinguisher or hose handy in case fireworks get out of control.
  • Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Rather than lighting off your own fireworks at home, head to professional fireworks shows. While you could still possibly be injured at one of these shows, the risk is much lower than if you choose to light your own fireworks off at your house.

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Most people enjoy celebrating the Fourth of July holiday with a fireworks show or two. With Independence Day right around the corner, it is important to understand that if these devices are not used properly you could wind up with some pretty devastating injuries. Catastrophic burn injuries and fatalities arise every year in Florida and across the United States due to Fourth of July fireworks injuries.

While you may think that firework accidents are not that common, firework-related injuries are actually quite a common occurrence. At Whittel & Melton, our Florida Personal Injury Attorneys know that children are at the highest risk for injuries stemming from fireworks accidents. That is why we strongly recommend that parents protect their children from injury by keeping them from using fireworks.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, an estimated 5,000 children under the age of 15 are treated in an emergency room each year due to a firework-related injury. Of these injuries, a whopping 70 percent occur during the month surrounding the Fourth of July holiday.

1316899_flag.jpg So, how can you and your family enjoy fireworks safely this year? Your safest option is to attend a publicly sanctioned firework event. However, if you are set on hosting your own red, white and blue party, you must be prepared and be as safe as possible in order to prevent any tragedies from happening in your backyard. The following tips and reminders can help you avoid an accident:

• Never let children play with fireworks or light them.

• Before using any fireworks, read any instructions and familiarize yourself with the warnings on the label.

• Drinking and lighting off fireworks is never a good idea. If you choose to light your own, make sure you designate a sober shooter.

• Ignite one firework at a time.

• Make sure you set up your post somewhere safely away from tree branches or bushes that could catch on fire.

• Do not try and re-light, alter or fix any fireworks that malfunction.

• Remember, all fireworks should be used outdoors only.

• Sparklers should never be handled by children, as they can reach temperatures easily hot enough to inflict third-degree burn injuries. Try letting your youngsters use glow sticks instead. These can be just as fun for the kids and much safer.

• Before lighting a firework, make sure the area is clear. It is best to light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface that is a safe distance away from the house, any dry leaves or other highly flammable materials.

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The Florida Personal Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton advise leaving Fourth of July fireworks to the professionals this holiday weekend.

Summertime in Florida is filled with all kinds of festivities and celebrations, and what better way to celebrate the spirit of America’s freedom than with twinkling wonders lighting up the sky? This Independence Day weekend, Whittel & Melton recommend keeping the fireworks out of your loved ones hands and instead, watch these brilliant displays from a safe distance. Keep in mind that a firework is an explosive device and while they can be purchased at stores, these are commercially packaged explosives that can cause serious burns and eye injuries.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that last year there were three reported deaths and an estimated 8,600 hospital emergency room treated injuries related to fireworks. In 2009, there were an estimated 8,800 injuries treated in America’s emergency rooms and two reported deaths as a result of fireworks. Fireworks were reported as the culprit for more than 7,000 injuries and seven deaths in 2008.

Misguided firecrackers can cause everlasting scarring, third-degree burn injuries and even blindness with the majority of the victims being teenagers and children. Fireworks can even cause houses, automobiles and yards to be set on fire. Fireworks can be defective and always pose the risk of exploding prematurely. Even professional firework displays can cause injuries to bystanders, and if you or a loved one has suffered any type of injury associated with reckless firecracker operations at public display or a backyard BBQ, you should explore your options for legal recourse. A defective device sold by a retailer should also be questioned when the manufacturing is found to be inadequate.

Fireworks and the Fourth of July go hand in hand, so always promote fireworks safety in your neighborhoods and communities. Here are some helpful hints for making sure your red, white and blue celebrations go smoothly:

*Make sure fireworks can be legally bought and sold in your area before purchasing or using them
*Keep young children away from fireworks and never allow them to light them off
*Always attend supervised firework displays—even sparklers, which most deem safe, can cause extreme injuries since they operate at temperatures around 2,000 degrees
*Do not pick up fireworks that failed to fully ignite or attempt to re-light used fireworks
*Do not carry around firecrackers in your pockets or anywhere on your person
*If fireworks are lit in your backyard or neighborhood, douse them with water before throwing them out. Merely throwing them away can cause trash fires.

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