As Independence Day and the whole Fourth of July holiday weekend approaches, hospitals and other medical facilities and clinics will bring in more staff to deal with the additional influx of individuals that have sustained a minor or debilitating injury due to the mishandling of fireworks or are the innocent victim of a stray bottle rocket or other exploding device.
Nationwide, approximately 13,000 individuals are treated for their injuries at local hospitals, and clinics during the holiday celebration, according to a published statement from the advocacy group Prevent Blindness America.
The best way to reduce the probability of being harmed from exploding or misguided fireworks is to attend a local, community fireworks exhibition that is conducted by trained pyrotechnic professionals.
Should it become necessary to personally set off some fireworks, heed these suggestions to ensure that friends, family, and neighbors will have a safe Independence Day holiday;
Fireworks Safety Tips
Always check with county officials to confirm that the use of fireworks is permitted in the county that you reside in. The Independence Day/Fourth of July fireworks fun will come to a screeching halt should law enforcement happen to stop by, in response to a call regarding exploding fireworks. Don’t become a statistic on the evening news – be a role model to youngsters, and exercise some common sense by taking the necessary precautions to guarantee everyone’s safety.
It is important to remember that fireworks are not toys. Fireworks can be dangerous and can cause serious injuries (burns and eye injuries) and even death.
Did you know that a sparkler can burn at an average temperature of 1,200 degrees, hot enough to melt some metals? It is one of the most dangerous fireworks for younger children.
Things you and your family can do to be safe around fireworks:
- Obey local laws. Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. You can contact your local police department to determine what fireworks can be legally discharged in your area. Items such as M-80s, M-100s, cherry bombs, blockbusters, and quarterpounders are not fireworks—they are federally banned explosives.
- Prohibit children from handling fireworks
- Only buy fireworks from reliable sellers. Do not purchase or use unlabeled fireworks.
- Never experiment with or make your own fireworks. Leave that to the experts.
- If necessary, store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Always read and follow label directions. Use fireworks only as intended.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
- Only use fireworks outdoors.
- Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket).
- Keep spectators at a safe distance from the shooter.
- The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Never re-light a “dud” firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).
- Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
- Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trashcan.
- Read the instructions on the package as to procedures for lighting the fuse
- Ever light a fuse without protection to your eyes, such as goggles don’t attempt to re-light a dud fuse
- Don’t attempt to re-light a dud fuse
- Point fireworks away from all spectators, structures, and animals
- Keep water nearby to handle fireworks that may catch fire
- Douse all exploded shells, canisters, and paper debris, with water and discard
For a complete list of the approved Florida fireworks, we invite you to click here.
Remember, safety is everyone’s responsibility. Please report any illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.
Firework Laws in Florida
Every year we hear stories of folks, old and young, who are injured or killed by fireworks. Remember, just because certain fireworks are legal does not make them safe. In Florida, as a rule of thumb, fireworks that are in any fashion propelled into the air under their own power are illegal for public consumption and use.
IF YOU CAN SEE IT IN THE SKY? DO NOT BUY!
“But WAIT” you may be thinking: “I see advertisements for warehouse outlets that sell all kinds of fireworks that fly high into the sky and provide a wonderful display of colors and shapes.”
There is a narrow exception in the law regarding the sale of these fireworks, but it is a dangerously grey area between what is legal and what is illegal for the general public.
Florida Statute 791.02 makes all fireworks illegal with only very specific exceptions listed in the statute. So how can these fireworks warehouses sell otherwise illegal fireworks to the general public? These establishments have the consumer sign a sworn affidavit that he or she meets the criteria under Florida law to purchase and possess fireworks. This affidavit includes sworn testimony that you, the consumer, is a competent operator trained to use and discharge fireworks for purposes of a display; you have been approved by the chiefs of police and fire departments of the municipality where the fireworks display will take place; you will make an application for permit or have made an application for permit at least 15 days in advance of the fireworks display; and, you will only use the fireworks during the specified display and for no other purpose. The establishment will also require a copy of your driver’s license. Of course, your affidavit and driver’s license will remain on file with the seller. STEER CLEAR of this situation. Unless you truly qualify under the law to purchase and possess fireworks, do not lie under oath in an affidavit. You could face criminal prosecution if you are caught with illegal fireworks and/or have lied under oath-even if it was unintentional.
What happens if you are injured by illegal fireworks while attending a party at a friend’s house?
You may have a case against the individual who is illegally discharging the fireworks. You may also have a case against the owner of the home that is hosting the party or get together. Finally, the seller of the fireworks may be liable as well (product liability).
Contact the Defective Product & Burn Injury Attorneys at Zimmerman & Frachtman
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to a burn injury and would like to learn more about your legal rights, please contact Zimmerman & Frachtman online, call (954) 504-6577. We offer free consultations and charge you only if we win your case.