July 4th Safety Tips
Each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks.
In 2013, fireworks caused an estimated 15,600 reported fires, including 1,400 total structure fires, 200 vehicle fires, and 14,000 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated 30 civilian injuries and $21 million in direct property damage.
In 2014, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 10,500 people for fireworks related injuries; 51% of those injuries were to the extremities and 38% were to the head.
The risk of fireworks injury is highest for young people ages 5-9, followed by children 10-19.
The Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks is a group of health and safety organizations, coordinated by NFPA, that urges the public to avoid the use of consumer fireworks and instead, to enjoy displays of fireworks conducted by trained professionals.
If you are going to use consumer fireworks, to please use common sense and follow the below safety tips when doing so:
- NEVER make your own fireworks. Only purchase fireworks from reliable, licensed dealers.
- Use consumer fireworks responsibly. Follow instructions and only use fireworks as intended. Never point them at others or use them as a weapon.
- Do not use fireworks under the influence of alcohol.
- Obey all local laws: Florida law prohibits any fireworks that fly through the air or explode - such as Roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars - for recreational use. But according to state law, if they are used to scare off birds from farms or fish hatcheries, the explosives are allowed
- Only use fireworks outdoors. Use them in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.
- Only set fireworks off from the ground. Never set them off from your hand or from glass bottles or metal containers.
- Light one firework at a time and move away after it has been lit. Never stand over a firework when lighting it.
- Never try to relight a “dud” firework. Leave it for 15 minutes and then soak it in water before disposing of it.
- Keep a source of extinguishment nearby.
- Ideally small children should not handle fireworks, and NEVER without adult supervision. Even sparklers can be dangerous as they burn at over 1000 degrees.