With the Fourth of July, we can expect lights in the skies and cherished memories with our friends and family members. What many Floridians may not be expecting are the risks for serious firework-related injuries.
Under Florida law, only sparklers, approved by the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, are legal for consumer usage. It is illegal to use exploding and/or flying fireworks in Florida, which include: shells and mortars, multiple tube devices, Roman candles, rockets and firecrackers. This is why it’s your best bet to go out and catch one of the public fireworks displays in the area for your Fourth festivities.
Our Fort Pierce personal injury lawyers understand that the most dangerous time of the year for these kinds of accidents is during the month surrounding the Fourth of July. During this time, there are 200 people on average each day who land in the emergency room. Luckily, these kinds of accidents can be prevented — even if you are only using sparklers.
Floridians should follow these precautions to help to celebrate safely:
-You should never use sparklers or any other kind of legal novelties on grass. Make sure that you’re lighting these devices on a hard, flat surface.
-You also want to be sure that you’re using these devices in an open area away from trees and other flammable objects.
-You should always keep pets and children at least 30 feet away when lighting a sparkler.
-Never use more than one sparkler at a time.
-If a sparkler has been deemed a “dud,” be sure to discard it immediately. You never want to relight these devices.
-You never want to use any sparklers that have been tampered with or some in an open package. These can be extremely dangerous.
-Always be sure that you have a bucket of water, a hose or a fire extinguisher nearby when operating sparklers.
-When done with a sparkler, drop it inside a bucket of water.
-When purchasing your fireworks, make sure that you only get them from a licensed vendor.
-Keep these fireworks out of the reach of children and store them in a cool, dry area.
-Never place any part of your body directly over a firework or a sparkler.
-It’s not a good idea to carry a sparkler in your pocket.
-Don’t use a sparkler in a glass or metal container.
-Keep an eye on the weather reports. You know of Florida summer weather can be unpredictable. Check the forecast to make sure you’re Fourth of July plans aren’t a washout.
If you’re not sure whether a particular firework is approved for consumer use, the Florida Fire Marshall publishes a full list of legal sparklers each year.
As we said, your safest (and probably most entertaining) option is to check out a professional Fourth of July fireworks show. Be sure to check out the state’s hottest Fourth of July Celebrations.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for legal advice about your rights. Call for a free and confidential consultation at 1-800-561-7777.
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Andrea’s Flash Storm Appearance: A Reminder of Hurricane Season, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, June 19, 2013