SARASOTA COUNTY – Every year, people are taken to hospital emergency rooms in the United States because of injuries from fireworks. The Sarasota County Fire Department (SCFD) has some suggestions to help people enjoy the holiday and stay safe.
Going to public fireworks displays is the best approach, as these displays are not only bigger and brighter, but the federal government bans the sale of most fireworks to the public. In Florida, consumer use of fireworks by the public is illegal.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks cause an estimated 18,500 reported fires per year, including almost half of the fires reported on July 4. In 2017, hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks-related injuries nation-wide; 54 percent of those were to the extremities such as hands and feet, and 36 percent were to the head. In addition, children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 36 percent of those injuries.
Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier offers these safety tips when handling sparklers:
- Children should not use sparklers without 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.
- Sparkler wires and sticks 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 him or her the unlit sparkler and then light it.
- Never use sparklers indoors or near vehicles.
For more information on sparkler and fireworks safety, contact the Sarasota County Fire Prevention Office at 941-861-2290 or visit www.scgov.net.
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