For many, the Fourth of July means a cookout and
fireworks. While celebrating with family and friends, it’s important to keep
safety in mind. On average, 250 people go to the emergency room with
fireworks-related injuries every day around July Fourth, according to the
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Here are some tips to help
you safeguard yourself, those around you and your home this holiday.
Protecting your home
Before you set off fireworks, be
sure to know whether you’re covered. A basic home insurance policy covers
fires caused by fireworks set off by you or a family member. However, if
fireworks are illegal in your city or state, your policy won't protect you.
Even if your city allows fireworks, your policy might contain safety
requirements and restrictions. If someone who's not a family member damages
your home, you will be covered regardless of whether fireworks are legal in
safety tips include:
- Keep a bucket of water close by
- Never relight a dud
- Avoid throwing or pointing fireworks at anyone or
- Supervise adolescents and never let young children
Putting the burn on grease fires
More fires are reported on the
Fourth of July than any other day, according to the National Fire Protection
Association, and fireworks aren't the only culprit. Grills are a leading
cause of structure fires, and a grease fire or burn from a grill could land
you in the emergency room.
If you grill out:
- Cook outdoors in a ventilated area
- Place grill far away from home or other structures so
sparks and flames don't ignite siding
- Never leave a burning fire unattended
Setting off fireworks not only
puts your property and neighbors' homes in danger, it could cause serious
bodily harm or injury if not handled properly. According to the CPSC, 11,000
people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in 2016.
If you get hurt while setting off
fireworks on your property, your homeowners insurance - not your health
insurance - should cover your injuries. If your fireworks injure someone
else, your homeowners insurance - not your health insurance - will pay for
the hospital bills. This all depends on if fireworks are legal in your state.
If not, then you may be personally liable for the damages or injuries.
Your homeowners insurance policy
won't cover damage or injuries:
- If it's illegal to use fireworks in your state
- If you intentionally set fire to your home using a
- If your neighbor's fireworks start a blaze in your
home (their policy should cover)
If your standard homeowners policy
doesn't protect against damage from fireworks, an umbrella policy might.
Always check with your insurance agent or company and review your policy.
For information on how to properly
use and dispose of fireworks, contact the CPSC.