Fire union warns of fireworks dangers

By Ashley Mitchem - Reporter, anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Thursday will go off with a bang full of fireworks all around the country.

In the meantime, the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters wants to remind locals about the dangers of fireworks. So on Wednesday morning, they put on a creative demonstration with a mannequin of what could happen if fireworks go wrong.

"This would be a trauma alert and a ride to (UF Health Jacksonville)," said Mark Treglio, of the fire union. "You would spend some time in the trauma center and go through months of healing just for not handling fireworks properly."

Jacksonville Fire-Rescue averages about 20-30 calls pertaining to fireworks injuries each year on the Fourth of July.

"We do a lot of runs with burn injuries, explosive injuries, trauma with the hands, those kinds of things -- hands eyes, sparks in the eyes," fire union President Randy Wyse said. "It's a very busy time for us."

Even simple sparklers that kids play with can be dangerous.

"If kids are going to be around that, we have that adult supervision, and you dispose of the fireworks in a safe way as we showed you here today by putting them in a bucket of water," Wyse said.

The fire union says there is not a right age and that parents can make that call.

"I would say at least 18 years old, but I know some 30-year-olds I wouldn't want to deal with fireworks and some 12-year-olds who would be totally fine with it, very safe," Wyse said.

Even legal fireworks can be dangerous, but a big issue is illegal fireworks. If you're caught using them, it's a first-degree misdemeanor, and you could face up to a $1,000 fine.

"Anything that actually explodes or rockets is illegal," Wyse said.

The Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters says it sees more children injured by fireworks, and so it stresses keeping your children far enough away from the fireworks and watching them at all times, even with something that seems harmless.

To see what fireworks are illegal, click here.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.