Advice From State Fire Marshal Alex Sink
LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink is urging Floridians to comply with fireworks laws as they make their Fourth of July plans, in light of the high risk of injury and the state�s recent wildfires. Florida fire departments last year reported that they responded to 250 incidents involving sparklers and 90 incidents involving fireworks.
"Floridians must think about fire safety as they celebrate this Fourth of July," said CFO Sink. "With the serious risk of injury and the danger of wildfires, we owe it to our families and our firefighters to be extra cautious."
Anyone using fireworks must have a permit from their local government or for certain agricultural purposes be exempted by law. Without a permit, it is illegal in Florida to use fireworks, which include shells and mortars, multiple tube devices, Roman candles, rockets and firecrackers, when such use is not in strict compliance with Chapter 791.012, Florida Statutes. Floridians should not sign "waivers" in order to purchase fireworks. Signing a waiver will not clear you of responsibility should you be caught illegally using fireworks, which is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
There is still a risk of injury with the use of legal sparklers. When lit, some sparklers can reach temperatures between 1,300 and 1,800 degrees - at least 200 degrees hotter than a standard butane lighter. For a list of hundreds of sparklers that are legal to use in Florida, as well as safety tips, visit the State Fire Marshal�s web site at 2007 Sparklers List .
To celebrate safely, CFO Sink advises Floridians to follow these precautions:
Use sparklers and other legal novelties on a flat, hard surface. Do not light them on grass.
Use sparklers in an open area. Keep children and pets at least 30 feet away from all ignited sparklers.
Light only one item at a time and never attempt to re-light a �dud.�
Don�t use any unwrapped items or items that may have been tampered with.
Keep a fire extinguisher or water hose on-hand for emergencies. It�s a good idea to drop used sparklers in a bucket of water.