HARRISBURG, Pa., June 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the Fourth of July just days away, the Wolf Administration is urging Pennsylvanians to keep fireworks safety and laws in mind. Fireworks used improperly can result in serious injury. Fireworks can also cause fires and other damage to homes and property, as well as liability issues if someone else is injured.
"In addition to being a cause of frequent injury around the Fourth of July holiday, fires or other property damage from fireworks can be costly when it comes to your homeowners' insurance," Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller said. "Property damage often means consumers must file a claim, and if a claim results in the insurer making a monetary payment, the homeowners' premiums could rise as a result. In addition, homeowners are responsible for paying any deductible on the policy out-of-pocket."
Commissioner Miller also noted not all homeowners' insurance policies are alike, so consumers could even run the risk of having a claim denied.
State Police Commissioner Tyree C. Blocker noted that state law prohibits the use of consumer and display fireworks without a permit issued by the local municipality where the display will take place. Families celebrating July 4 should leave the fireworks shows to the professionals.
"All display fireworks that shoot into the air and items like firecrackers, M-80s, and cherry bombs are prohibited for use by the general public," Commissioner Blocker said. "Any law enforcement officer having jurisdiction may confiscate prohibited fireworks and make an arrest for violation of the fireworks law."
In 2015, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released a report on injuries, fires, and associated losses due to the use of fireworks. The report found in the United States in 2015 there were:
- 11 total non-occupational fireworks-related deaths; 11,900 fireworks-related emergency room treated injuries; 65% of the fireworks-related emergency room treated injuries were burns.
- 42% of the firework-related injuries belonged to persons younger than 20 years of age.
The NFPA report says around two-thirds of all fireworks-related, emergency-room treated injuries occurred between June 19, 2015, and July 19, 2015. With the prevalence of young people being injured, Commissioner Miller urged parents to keep a close eye on their children around any type of fireworks.
Commissioner Miller also noted the NFPA report found significant property damage is caused by fireworks each year.
- Fireworks cause an estimated 18,500 reported fires per year.
- An average of $43 million in property damage is caused by fires started from fireworks annually.
"The Fourth of July holiday is a great time to celebrate our nation's independence, and enjoy the summer weather with family and friends. Don't spoil your celebration with a fireworks related accident that could cause serious injury and significant property damage," State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay said.
Solobay also said pets should be secured inside, to keep them from running away if fireworks scare them. In addition, there are a number of ways to celebrate the weekend without fireworks, including glow sticks, water balloons filled with colored water and confetti, and noisemakers.
For safety tips on how to responsibly handle fireworks, please visit fireworkssafety.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ron Ruman, Insurance, 717-787-3289
Cory Angell, OSFC: 717-651-2169
Ryan Tarkowski, PSP: 717-783-5556
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Insurance