Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Illegal Fireworks Turning Kids Into Zombies?

Be safe while celebrating the Fourth of July - Use legal products 

LABELLE, FL. -- The Fourth of July is a time for celebration across the country and fireworks are a crowd favorite each year.  While fireworks can be fun to watch, they can also be very dangerous when used illegally in home settings, and providing bad safety examples to children watching who may want to imitate the behavior of adults.

Every year an estimated 3,500 children ages 15 and under suffer injuries involving fireworks with most of these injuries occurring from the middle of June until the middle of July.  Children and teenagers are the most likely people to be injured as a result of consumer fireworks. Adults provide a poor example to their children when using illegal fireworks, as well as causing possible injury to their children and accidental fire dangers.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 40 percent of the people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15.  Each year in Florida, nearly 60 children ages 15 and under go to the hospital for injuries involving fireworks.

Everyone should remember that fireworks, including sparkers and flares, can cause serious burns as well as blast injuries that can permanently impair vision and hearing. Every year there are serious injuries to children playing with fireworks at home.

"The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch them at a community event where professionals handle them," says Pat Dobbins, Administrator for the Hendry and Glades County Health Departments. 

The United States Fire Administration reminds everyone that sparklers can reach 2,000° Fahrenheit- hot enough to melt some metals. Do not allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.

Consumer Fireworks Are Illegal In Florida

Florida laws prohibit the use of fireworks by the public, except for sparklers. Using any device that explodes or shoots in the air is illegal.

Firework vendors selling exploding fireworks avoid being prosecuted by getting buyers to sign a statement that the fireworks are to be used for legal purposes. The signed statement makes buyers lie about the use of the products, making the purchaser liable for providing a false statement, but keeping the business out of trouble with law enforcement. Beware of signing a false statement to purchase exploding fireworks.

Consumers who purchase legal fireworks (none are legal in Florida) are urged to take these safety steps:

Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them (exploding or shooting products are not legal in Florida)

Never assume that a fireworks device is safe based on its size and never allow young children to play with or light fireworks. By knowing the dangers of all types of fireworks, consumers can prevent tragedies.

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