A great song, but an odd headline for a real estate blog. That said, burning down the house is exactly what you don’t want to do this Fourth of July!
“From sea to shining sea,” Americans will be celebrating 235 years of independence this Fourth of July. Perhaps the biggest part of those celebrations – and certainly the loudest – will be the fireworks . And since Independence Day falls on a Monday this year we’ll have a three-day weekend to enjoy parades, picnics, and pyrotechnics!
Fireworks provide a dazzling display of flashing sparks, colorful lights, and sounds that can mesmerize, captivate, and enthrall audiences. Adults and children alike enjoy these exhilarating displays. But few stop to realize how the improper use of fireworks can contribute to liability, property loss, injury, and even death.
The United States Fire Administration reported that 23,200 fireworks fires in a single year caused approximately $35 million in property loss. Almost 60 percent of those fires occurred during the month of July around the Independence Day holiday.
Fireworks in 2009 caused an estimated 18,000 fires — including 1,300 structure fires, 400 vehicle fires and 16,300 outdoors fires — causing an estimated $38 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,800 people for fireworks related injuries the same year, according to the association. In North Carolina, fire departments across the state responded to 137 fireworks-related calls that caused an estimated $116,000 in property damage.
Illegal and legal fireworks are a serious property and life safety hazard. Problems often arise when people are lighting fireworks too close to their homes or neighbor’s homes, in some cases close enough that fireworks have landed on the roofs. Houses and businesses composed of wood frame construction, surrounded by combustible landscaping, contribute to fast moving fires caused by negligent use of fireworks. Individuals found responsible for building or landscaping damage caused by fireworks use can be issued a citation and may be financially responsible.
Fourth of July without fireworks would be like New Year’s Eve without corks popping and the ball dropping in New York’s Times Square. Fireworks have become such a big part of our traditional Fourth of July celebrations that without them something would be missing. What wouldn’t be missed, though, are the thousands of injuries and thousands of dollars in property damage that occur annually due to the mishandling of fireworks, both legal and illegal, at this time of the year.
“With freedom comes responsibility,” so said Eleanor Roosevelt. Please be responsible this Independence Day. Enjoy your celebration, but don’t burn down the house.
Lara Taylor – Realtor/Broker
Twitter – @AskForLara