Public Warning Of Fireworks Dangers - Fireworks Dealers Skirting The Law
LABELLE, FL. -- Seven states ban all retail sales of consumer fireworks, with Florida being one of these. Such bans have been linked to significantly lower rates of fireworks-related injuries and fires. According to fire prevention specialists, deaths, injuries and fires occur too frequently when untrained consumers and children use illegal fireworks, and because of this, nearly all safety and fire prevention experts advocate banning explosive fireworks from consumer use.
In Florida, only sparklers are legal for consumer purchase and use. Anything that shoots into the air or explodes is not legal for purchase or use by consumers. Novelties and trick noisemakers may also be sold to consumers at retail, as defined and listed in Section 791.01, Florida Statutes. These items include smoke devices, party poppers, snappers and snakes. The state Fire Marshal licenses stores to sell sparklers in Florida and requires all products sold to consumers be registered with the state. List of Sparklers Approved For 2007
What Can Legally Be Purchased? Sparklers and Novelty Items Only
There are two types of retailers that will be selling sparklers to the general public.
Retailers: These people sell sparklers to the general public from a fixed place of business throughout the year. For example: convenience stores or supermarkets.
Seasonal Retailers: These people may sell sparklers only from June 20 through July 5 and from December 10 through January 2. The temporary stands and tents near roads, in parking lots, etc. are operated by seasonal retailers.
Under state law, all retailers of sparklers are required to be registered by the State Fire Marshal. At the location where the sparklers are being sold the retailer should have a Certificate of Registration from the State Fire Marshal authorizing the business to sell sparklers. The address on the certificate will contain the address of the location where the retailer will sell the sparklers and the address must be the address of the retailer's actual location. If the addresses do not match, then the retailer is in violation of the law.
The State Fire Marshal publishes a list of approved sparklers. If a retailer is selling an item to the general public that is not on the approved list, or the product was obtained from an unlicensed manufacturer, distributor or wholesaler, the retailer is in violation of the law. If the retailer insists the customer sign an affidavit to sell him fireworks products... beware. There are limited exemptions in the fireworks law for explosives purchases by farmers or railroad workers. The retailer, by having the customer sign an affidavit, is shifting all possible violations of Florida Statutes to the buyer by having him sign a statement that is more than likely a false statement.
Nationwide there are over 24,000 fires associated with fireworks use according to recent statistics. Most of the fires were outdoor brush or refuse fires. These fires usually begin with outdoor use of fireworks. For example, when a device is launched outside and lands on a roof or other location, it can ignite combustibles before being retrieved.
The Florida Department of Health is urging families to take proper precautions during Independence Day celebrations and all summer long. Each year within the United States, more than 4,000 children under the age of 15 are treated in emergency rooms for injuries involving fireworks. Fireworks can result in severe burns, scars and disfigurement that can last a lifetime. Even sparklers, thought to be safe by many people, can reach temperatures above 1000 degrees F and can burn users and bystanders.
Fireworks, including sparklers and flares, can cause serious burns as well as blast injuries that can permanently impair vision and hearing. Children ages five to nine have the highest rate of injury from fireworks, say safety experts. Families should teach children what to do if their clothing catches on fire 'stop, drop and roll' and how to call 911 in an emergency. Keep a phone handy, and know first aid for burns. Keep a fire extinguisher handy and know how to use it. Keep all children under active supervision.