How many videos have you seen on YouTube or on Spike TV, that show passionate and delighted revelers gathered on the street or in their driveways, lighting fuses for a gathering crowd, a look of anticipation on their faces? The fuse begins to spark and shine and suddenly before everyone can back away, an explosion. The firework detonates prematurely.

Sometimes it is harmless fun; sometimes a trip in an ambulance occurs; sometimes a fire sparks and property gets severely damaged.

In 2015, New York State has legally approved the use of "Novelty" fireworks for consumer use for two limited time periods in July and December in select areas/counties. Fireworks are still illegal in New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut).   Although I do not know any statistics of anyone being harmed by the use of fireworks in the state, I thought with the upcoming July 4th three-day weekend on the horizon, it would be a good time to brush up on your safety skills when it comes to novelty explosives.

One of the statistics that is almost never reported on the news is rather amazing. Independence Day is typically the busiest day of the year for fires, and approximately 20,000 fire-related emergency calls annually are blamed on fireworks.  This is where the insurance aspect is important. Most people do not consider the insurance implications when getting ready to launch that bottle rocket.

So here are some top tips that will keep you enjoying your hot dogs and potato salad and keep you out of the hospital.

Some Basic Fireworks Safety Tips from Travelers Insurance:

  • Keep fireworks away from children
  • Don’t do anything illegal; make sure the personal use of fireworks is permitted where you live
  • Only use fireworks outside on an at surface away from grass and dry brush
  • Keep water or an extinguisher nearby
  • Don’t light fireworks inside containers
  • Don’t mix fireworks and alcohol; let your designated driver be your designated fireworks handler.

What about insurance implications?

If a pyrotechnic lands on my roof, gutter, pile of leaves, etc. and my house catches on fire, am I covered under my homeowners’ insurance policy?”

  • Honestly, there is no easy answer to that question; it depends on the circumstance of the fire.  Are fireworks illegal in your state? Insurance doesn’t cover damage from illegal acts.
  • If fireworks are legal and your neighbor’s Roman Candle lands in your gutter and causes a fire, you should be covered.
  • If you accidentally injure your neighbor while launching a rocket, your homeowner’s insurance policy should pay for medical expenses depending on the policy and the deductible.

As the experts always warn, fireworks and pyrotechnics are really best left up to the professionals. But if you plan on treating the neighborhood to a display, you may want to reach out to your insurance agency just to make sure if something occurs, that proper coverage is in place.

Have a safe and happy, Fourth of July!