June 29, 2011

Our Birmingham Injury Attorneys Wish You a Safe and Happy 4th of July!

The 4th of July holiday weekend is approaching and our Birmingham personal injury attorneys would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Independence Day. It is important to remember to be safe and cautious during this celebratory weekend as your risk of injury faces a steep increase.

When you think of the 4th of July, of course you think of fireworks. According to the Birmingham-based United States Eye Injury Registry, there are roughly 12,000 fireworks-related injuries that are treated in U. S. hospital emergency rooms each year. It is estimated that every year as many as 400 Americans suffer permanent vision loss in one or both eyes because of firework injuries in Alabama and elsewhere.

"The best way to enjoy fireworks this Fourth of July is to leave them to the professionals," says Doug Witherspoon, M.D., director of the Ocular Trauma Center at University of Alabama at Birmingham Callahan Eye Hospital.

Firework safety tips to keep you save this 4th of July:

-Refrain from using bottle rockets.

-Do not allow children to play with fireworks, or even sparklers.

-Always keep water nearby, either in a bucket of water or from a hose.

-Always have an adult present.

-Never relight dud fireworks. Let them sit for 20 minutes and then soak them in water.

-Don't drink and use fireworks. Always have a designated lighter.

-Never mix fireworks.

-Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.

-Make sure that the person lighting fireworks is wearing eye protection.

-Use fireworks as they're instructed.

-Only light one firework at a time.

Residents are also urged to celebrate safely near water, whether on a boat or in your backyard pool.

In 2002, according to Alabama Department of Public Health, there were more than 60 pool drowning deaths in our state. Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death in Alabama for children under the age of 15.

In 2007 alone, there were nearly 3,500 fatal unintentional drownings in the United States. These pool-related drownings average out to about ten occurring each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than half of all drowning victims that are treated in emergency rooms end up needing hospitalization. Nonfatal injuries can turn out to be severe. These types of drownings can cause brain damage that can result in long-term disabilities. These disabilities can include memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning.

When celebrating by the pool, remember these safety tips:

-Always use the buddy system when swimming.

-Never let children swim without supervision.

-Do not use rafts, water wings, inner tubes or any other air-filled swimming aid as a safety device. They are not designed to protect children from drowning.

-Enroll your child in professional swimming lessons as early as possible.

-Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This lifesaving strategy can help to keep victims alive until paramedics arrive in the event of an emergency.

A number of residents and visitors will be hitting the water on a boat over the long holiday weekend as well. We urge all boaters to take every safety precaution as a day on the water this weekend is could result in serious -- if not fatal -- injuries. In 2009 alone, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that there were more than 4,700 boating incidents. Nearly 4,000 boaters were reported to have been injured and more than 700 died.

Of those who were injured, 9 out of 10 of them were not wearing life jackets Most boating fatalities that happened in 2008 were caused by drowning with 90 percent of victims not wearing life jackets. The remainder of boating fatalities were caused by trauma, hypothermia, carbon monoxide poisoning, or other causes.

Discover Boating offers these safety tips to you if you're going to be out on the water during this 4th of July weekend:

-Check the weather. Be sure to check TV and radio forecasts before venturing out on your boat and keep an eye on changing weather conditions once you're on the water.

-Abide by waterway speed limits.

-Be respectful of navigational aids and buoys.

-Be sure to travel with someone, aside from yourself, that is familiar with your boat’s handling, operations, and other boating safety tips.

-Avoid alcohol. You're twice as likely to be involved in a boating accident when alcohol is involved.

-Learn to swim. Check with your local American Red Cross or other safety advocates for training programs and instructional classes in your area.

-Enroll in a boating course. This will help to you become familiar with boating safety rules of operation.

-Free vessel safety check. The US Coast Guard offers free boat examinations to ensure the presence and condition of safety equipment that is required by State and Federal regulations.

We hope that you have a fun and safe holiday weekend and make sure you check out some of the great Alabama 4th of July events.

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October 7, 2009

Alabama Personal Injury News: Ponds and Rivers Pose Threat of Drowning for Young and Old

Even though the summer months are on the wane, there is still time to take a dip here and there in the greater Birmingham area, over in Montgomery or down in Mobile. For children, pools, rivers and ponds always pose a curious, yet dangerous opportunity. As an Alabama personal injury lawyer, I am constantly reminded of the hazards all around us. A drowning death is usually preventable. Even when a person is revived, brain death or mental incapacitation is quite often the result. A couple news items point out the danger that water presents, and not just to children.

Not too long ago, a Wood River, AL, man drowned in a private pond in Montgomery County during an evening swim. This was no child, so the lesson here is to beware and always have a friend along when swimming in a secluded or non-public area. According to reports, 55-year-old Jimmy D. Pennington drowned while swimming in a pond just southeast of Walshville, Alabama, which is about 30 miles northeast of Alton.

According to police, witnesses told investigators that Pennington had been swimming in a private pond located on Gerdes Lane, southeast of Walshville, sometime around 7:15 in the evening of August 14. Witnesses also said that they noticed the man was having difficulty swimming and began to struggle before going under water, at which point several people tried to rescue the man.

They reportedly pulled Pennington from the water and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, then took him to St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield using a personal vehicle. Unfortunately, the man was pronounced dead at the hospital by a Montgomery County coroner. Similarly, there were a couple more drownings in Houston County this past September.

News reports describe an incident on September 8 where emergency personnel were called to the scene of another tragic death. Another man died during an apparently unsupervised swim in a pond near Web, Alabama, where residents found James Edward Herring II dead around 4:30pm.

Houston County Coroner Robert Byrd said Herring was a resident of a group home located near the pond, but had checked out two days earlier to go visit some family. That death was the second drowning in just one week; an earlier incident involved a teenage boy from Enterprise, Stephen Bush, who drowned over the Labor Day holiday weekend in the Choctawhatchee River.

Wood River man drowns in private pond, TheTelegraph.com, August 17, 2009

Authorities called to second drowning within a week, DothanEagle.com, September 9, 2009

Tags: Alabama Injury Attorney, Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer, drowning death, hospital, negligence, pond, rescue, resuscitation, swimming, water, wrongful death

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