Community reminded to be safe
SARASOTA COUNTY – Every year people are taken to hospital emergency rooms in the United States because of injuries from fireworks. What’s the best way to stay safe and enjoy the Fourth of July? Sarasota County Fire Department advises community members to celebrate by attending public fireworks displays.
Not only are these displays bigger and brighter, the federal government bans the sale of most fireworks to the public. In the Florida, consumer use of fireworks as defined by Chapter 791 Florida Statutes by the public is illegal. Examples of fireworks that would be considered illegal include firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets and roman candles.
Sparklers as approved by the Division of the State Fire Marshal’s office are legal and include snake or glow worms, trick noisemakers, party poppers, snappers and sparklers.
In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage, with no reported fire deaths. Sparklers, fountains and novelties alone accounted for 34 percent of the emergency room fireworks injuries in 2011.
The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-19 and adults 25-44, with one-quarter (26 percent) of the victims of fireworks injuries in 2011 younger than 15 years old. Children have the highest relative risk of injury; there are no adult age groups with comparable risk.
In 2012, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,700 people for fireworks related injuries; 55 percent of 2012 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 31 percent were to the head.
Using sparklers on the nation’s birthday is as traditional as cookouts and swimming. Sarasota County Fire Marshal John Reed offers these safety tips when handling sparklers by following these common sense rules.
- Children should not use sparklers without very close adult supervision.
- Always remain standing while using sparklers.
- Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.
- Never hold, or light, more than one sparkler at a time.
- Sparklers and bare feet can be a painful combination. Always wear closed-toe shoes when using sparklers.
- Sparkler wire and stick remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop the spent sparklers directly in a bucket of water.
- Never hand over a lighted sparkler to another person. Give them the unlit sparkler and then light it.
- Do not throw sparklers.
- Never use sparklers indoors or near vehicles.
For more information regarding sparkler and fireworks safety contact the Sarasota County Fire Prevention Office at 941-861-2290 or visit the county’s website at www.scgov.net.