JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Independence Day approaches, fire and state officials are urging people to celebrate safely.
In Florida, most fireworks are illegal, but some smaller fireworks that don’t explode or lift off the ground, such as sparklers, are allowed.
A recent report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found thousands of people were treated in emergency rooms across the country for fireworks-related injuries in 2018. In addition, there were roughly 500 sparklers-related injuries treated.
St. Johns County Fire Rescue said on the 4th of July, people need to take proper precautions to have a safe and fun holiday.
“Anytime you have a sparkler, it is legal but it is also active flames,” explained Jeremy Robshaw, Deputy Chief St. Johns County Fire Rescue. “Those sparks at the end are very hot and if a child were to rub it up against their skin or someone else’s skin or whatever may happen, that could cause serious injury.”
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal, Jimmy Patronis said fireworks start approximately 18,500 fires every year.
“As Floridians enjoy this Independence Day, it’s critical to always use simple safety tips when handling fireworks. Each July 4th, thousands of people-often times children and teens-are injured while using consumer fireworks. In 2017, fireworks were responsible for an estimated 12,900 emergency room injuries. Don’t let your holiday turn into a tragedy,” said Patronis.
Patronis offered several firework safety tips:
Consider attending a professional fireworks show
- Light one firework/sparkler at a time and never relight a dud
- Be careful allowing young kids to play with sparklers because temperatures can reach more than 1200 degrees. Consider giving kids glow sticks as a safe alternative
- Keep pets indoors and far away from fireworks
- Keep a fire extinguisher or water hose nearby
- Only buy approved sparklers