Fireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day. Yet, the thrill of fireworks can also bring pain. According to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 200 people on average go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the days around the July 4 holiday. Further illegal and homemade fireworks resulted in six fireworks related deaths reported to the CPSC in 2012.
Maitland Fire Rescue and the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks, a group of 22 health and safety organizations, urge the public to avoid the use of any form of consumer fireworks.
Your firefighters do not recommend the use of any type of devices, even though they may be on the state accepted listing of “sparklers,” and definitely condemns any use of illegal fireworks. Such devices as firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, roman candles, cherry bombs, and any fireworks containing any explosives or flammable compound are considered illegal and are not intended to be sold to the general public in Florida.
When fireworks are used in a controlled environment and operated by trained professionals, they can provide a fitting and spectacular salute to our nation and its people. When used improperly by the untrained public, the majority of which are children and teens, the potential for injury and even death increases exponentially.
If you or your friends decide to purchase sparklers from a reliable retailer, please be extra careful. Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times. Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks and never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
Carefully consider little arms that may be too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,200 degrees. How about this? Let your young children use glow sticks instead. They can be just as fun but they don’t burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass.
Be prepared for an accident or injury; ensure everyone stands several feet away from lit sparklers or fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it. Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
Lastly, if a child is injured by fireworks, immediately call 911 or seek further medical attention. If an eye injury occurs, don't allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.
This year, as in previous years, we ask you please leave fireworks to the professionals, check the local listings and find a public fireworks display. The technicians firing such public displays will keep the fireworks and risk away from you and your family. You’ll get a bigger and better show than some untrained amateur attempting to show off in their backyard.
On behalf of the Maitland Fire Rescue Department, your firefighters, we wish you a safe and happy Independence Day. Our family helping yours – whatever it takes.
— Dennis Marshall, Fire Marshal