JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Fireworks stands will be in business for the next few days as people get ready to celebrate Independence Day. But there are some rules about what you can use. News4Jax has the do's and don’ts for celebrating the holiday with a bang.
Most of the stands around town have waivers you need to sign to buy anything that explodes or lifts off the ground. You are signing that you will use the fireworks for agricultural purposes, like scaring off animals. The waivers protect the seller, not the buyer.
In Duval County, things like sparklers, glow worms or fireworks that smoke but don't explode are legal. St. Johns and Clay counties follow the same law as Duval – anything that explodes or lifts off is illegal. That includes bottle rockets and Roman candles.
Some stands even have the state laws posted so there is no confusion.
The Phantom fireworks stand near the Orange Park Mall even has a sign showing how to best dispose of your fireworks, from dowsing them with water to putting them in a fireproof canister to keeping them away from homes and trees.
“Just understanding that you are doing it in a safe environment,” Guillermo Gimenez, an employee at the Orange Park Phantom fireworks stand, said. “You have a nice little area, especially if you're using the mortars. You want to make sure it is nice and level. Light it up, walk away, and keep yourself at a good distance.”
Casia Sinco, with the state fire marshal’s office, said people should avoid buying fireworks that require the agricultural waiver and enjoy public shows instead.
“There are a number of great firework shows out there that counties, and governments, and different organizations put on. We absolutely, 100 percent recommend that if you want to see a great fireworks show, leave it up to the professionals," Sinco said.
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said there are other things people can do to ensure their safety.
“When children are involved, it's always best to be there with them -- especially when they are very small,” Smith said. “You don't want to give them matches or lighters or anything like that. (There’s) not just the firework danger, but also the match or cigarette lighter.”