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Wishing You A Happy Fourth of July From Buckfire Law!

June has come to an end, tempertures are at an all time high, and that must means Fourth of July is finally here!

Whether your celebration includes a barbecue, fireworks, or relaxing by the pool, we hope you have a fun, safe holiday with family and friends.

While many of us are familiar with the Founding Fathers and the Revolutionary War as the origins of July 4th, here are some lesser-known facts about Independence Day, courtesy of  History.com, to get you in the holiday spirit:

  • There were five members appointed to the committee to draft a formal statement severing ties with Great Britain, although what came to be the Declaration of Independence was largely written by Thomas Jefferson.
  • The actual vote for independence occurred on July 2nd, not July 4th. The Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4th
  • John Adams, one of the five members on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence, fervently believed that American independence should be celebrated on July 2nd, and he would even turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest.
  • Three out of the five Founding Father Presidents died on America's Indpendence Day. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826 -- the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. James Monroe died on July 4, 1831. 
  • Americans celebrated the very first Fourth of July in 1776 with mock funerals for King George III, symbolizing the end of Britain's control over America.
  • Philadelphia held the first annual celebration of July 4th in 1777.
  • Massachusetts was the first state to declare July 4th an official state holiday.

Fireworks Laws in Michigan

It wouldn't be July 4th without fireworks!

Within the past few years, the state of Michigan passed a new law allowing the sale and use of consumer-grade fireworks. These include, for example, Roman candles and bottle rockets. 

As these fireworks are larger and more dangerous than what was previously legal in Michigan, the state has also enacted some restrictions. For example:

  • Purchasers must be at least 18-years old
  • Retailers must apply and be granted certification before selling fireworks
  • Use of consumer fireworks is prohibited while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
  • Use is prohibited on public property, and permission is required for use on another's private property

Supplementary ordinances have been left up to the local governments. Before this July 4th, make sure you know these state laws surrounding fireworks, as well as any laws that apply to your local community.

In Grand RapidsAnn ArborDearbornLansing, and Kalamazoo:

  • Consumer fireworks can only be used on July 3rd, July 4th, and July 5th from 8 am to 11:59 pm.
  • On any day other than the day before, day of, or day after a national holiday, consumer fireworks cannot be ignited, discharged, or used.

In Traverse City and East Lansing:

  • Consumer fireworks can only be used on July 3rd, July 4th, and July 5th from 8 am to 12:59 am.
  • On any day other than the day before, day of, or day after a national holiday, consumer fireworks cannot be ignited, discharged, or used.

Failure to comply with state or city regulations can result in a fine up to $500.

Stay Safe This July 4th

Even if you are well within the state and local laws, make sure you still use the proper precautions when it comes to fireworks this holiday weekend. 

According to a 2017 Consumer Product Safety Commission report, eight fireworks-related deaths were reported in 2017, with victims ranging in age from four to 57.

There were an estimated 12,900 fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries in 2017. Moreover, about 67 percent of the estimated annual fireworks-related injuries, occurred during the month surrounding the Fourth of July holiday, between June 16, 2017 and July 16, 2017. 

Here is a list of some of the fireworks-related incidents that made the news.

  • A man's hand was partially amputated in Chicago, Ilinois, losing his two fingers, after igniting the shells and hurling them into the air.
  • Man lost part of his arm last year while putting on a fireworks display for his family, in Decatur Township, Indiana. 
  • In San Bernadino, California, 8-, 9- and 10-year-old boys were hospitalized after an incident that involved an "explosion possibly involving aerosol in a canister."  
  • Two boys, ages 12 and 13, were injured in Auburn, Washington, after finding a firework that then exploded. One boy's hand was seriously injured, while the other was hit with debris.
  • An Iowa mother and her baby were hospitalized after a firework lauched sideways instead of vertically. The state recently made the sale of fireworks legal for the first time in decades. 

While the colorful explosions can be dazzling, they can also be extremely dangerous. It's important to use them safely to ensure they are not harmful and can be enjoyed by all.

The American Pyrotechnics Association wants to remind people there is a high risk of injury if fireworks are used improperly. Here are some tips they've shared for staying safe while watching or handling fireworks:

  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry area
  • Only ignite fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from buildings, houses, and vehicles
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Never point fireworks at people
  • Fireworks should never be handled by children or adults who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away. Those not lighting the fireworks should always maintain a safe distance from them.
  • Wear safety glasses when lighting fireworks
  • Always have a water source nearby, such as a bucket of water or a functioning water hose
  • Dispose of used fireworks by soaking them in water and then placing them in a metal trash can away from buildings and flamable materials.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks or alter fireworks bought from a retailer. Only buy fireworks from certified retailers and follow the manufacturer's directions for lighting them.
  • Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes before touching the firework, then soak it in a bucket of water and discard.

However you choose to celebrate the holiday -- with or without fireworks -- we hope that you choose to do so safely.

If You're Spending the Day At The Pool, Make Sure To Practice Water Safety

As families across the country celebrate Independence Day, the Pool Safely Campaign is reminding everyone to follow simple steps to stay safer while spending time in and around the water. This can help ensure a holiday that is safer and more fun!

Reports from the USA Swimming Foundation indicate that at least 87 children younger than 15 have fatally drowned in a swimming pool or spa from January 1 through May 31, 2018. Additionally, each year on average, 19 children drown during the week of July 4th. Together we can work to prevent these tragedies by sharing water safety information with families across the country ahead of the Independence Day holiday and beyond.

 

If you are injured in an accident this week, we are here to help. We handle personal injury cases of all kinds, including recreational accidents, car accidents, and pedestrian accidents.

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Lawrence J. Buckfire
Best Michigan personal injury lawyer winning highest settlements for injury, malpractice, & accident victims.
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