Firework Safety for Floridians: Local Laws, Prevention, and How SERVPRO can Help Hinder Hazards this Holiday Season
In about 24 hours, Floridians will celebrate our nation’s birthday with a time-honored tradition— fireworks. And while these are fun to look at, according to officials, they come at a catastrophic price.
In fact, it is estimated that July 4 accounts for twice the number of reported fires compared to any other day, with nearly half of these incidents directly attributed to fireworks. And, specifically, officials from Florida Fire Rescue division are urging residents to leave the fireworks displays to the professionals. However, if you do decide to partake in the festivities, there are some steps that should be taken to avoid catastrophic events.
Here are ways to keep you, your family, home, and/or commercial property safe from the hazards of using consumer fireworks, according to officials.
Know Your Local Laws
Remember as a kid lighting tiny sticks on fire and then spinning them in circles until sparks almost landed on your wrist? Well those are still all you can have, according to Florida Fireworks Laws. And, a lot of local municipalities have their own approved list of sparklers you are allowed to purchase.
These are not just limited to humans. Volusia County's beaches, for example, strictly prohibit consumer-grade fireworks. That’s because they not only leave a mess but can frighten nesting sea turtles and cause birds to abandon their nests.
Instead, check out your community calendar for commercial firework viewings. You won’t be disappointed, as Florida ranks as one of the top spots for commercial firework shows in the nation, many of them in Orlando.
Prepare Before the Celebration
Along with studying up on laws and regulations, another key practice is to always prepare your own surroundings for potential incidents.
If your local officials allow for personal use, make sure you are purchasing your fireworks from a professional provider. Never try to create your own fireworks or purchase them from an illegal source.
Prior to setting off, whether on your own property or at an outside location, always clear any dry vegetation and debris from the area. Even if you have already followed the appropriate steps so far, it is imperative to always keep a water source, whether it is a full-bucket and/or fire-extinguisher, close at hand.
Remember, keeping you and your loved ones safe is not limited to children, family, and close friends. Your furry friends have ears that are much more sensitive than ours. Make sure your pets are indoors before you begin, to reduce the risk they will run loose or get injured.
Use Caution During the Celebration
Be sure when picking your viewing spot that it is at a safe distance from where the fireworks are being ignited.
If you are the one who is providing the show, use safety eyewear, glasses or goggles, to protect your eyes while igniting fireworks. Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
Back to sparklers again, children should never be allowed to play with or light anything other than these. Even then, sparklers should only be used under close adult supervision. While often considered a “safe” firework for the young, the tip of a sparkler burns at 1,200 degrees or higher, which can cause third degree burns.
If you happen to get one of those dreaded duds that does not ignite (or does so, pathetically), release the urge to immediately pick it up and relight it. Instead let it sit for a minimum of 20 minutes and then carefully place it in a bucket of water.
Clean-Up after the Celebration
After the show, it is tempting to call it a night and clean up in the morning. It is important instead to wait for the fireworks to cool off and then safely place them in a bucket of water. This will prevent any faulty fireworks from reigniting and creating catastrophic fire damage.
Also, be sure to pick up all matches, lighters, and any unused fireworks. These should always be out of sight and reach of children before, during and after your celebration.
Of course, if you do not want to deal with the hassle of cleaning up or the stress of closely monitoring your children, you can always get in the patriotic spirit other ways. Use glow sticks as a safe alternative to sparklers. Or pick up some noise makers or patriotic silly string from your local party supply store. Better yet, throw a birthday party, cake, and all, for the USA.
Better yet, leave the celebratory fireworks to the trained professionals.
Call us Today
SERVPRO of Flagler County specializes in water and fire damage clean-up and restoration services for both residential and commercial customers. For more information or to schedule a free estimate, call our office at (386) 447-2202.