Ready For A Safe 4th Of July? Only Sparklers Are Allowed
LABELLE, FL. -- Under Florida law, only sparklers, approved by the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, are legal for consumer usage. However, an exemption in the law allows for the use of un-approved fireworks for agricultural purpose, such as frightening birds from agricultural works and fish hatcheries.
Anyone using fireworks under the agricultural exemption must have a permit from the Sheriff in the county where they will use the product. Without a permit, it is illegal to use fireworks in Florida, which include: shells and mortars, multiple tube devices, Roman candles, rockets and firecrackers.
As a general guideline, anything that flies through the air or explodes is not allowed for consumer use. Floridians should not sign "waivers" in order to purchase fireworks. Signing a waiver will not clear a consumer 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 http://www.myfloridacfo.com/sfm/sparklerindex.htm.
To celebrate safely, Floridians should 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.
- Only purchase fireworks from licensed vendors.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
- Never carry sparklers in your pocket or shoot them off in metal or glad containers.