Fireworks on July 4th are as American as apple pie. Village officials want everyone to have a safe and fun holiday, and that means respecting the dangers associated with fireworks.
Key Biscayne Police Chief Charles Press reminds residents and visitors that "The KBPD will strictly enforce the law regarding fireworks." Be aware of legal versus illegal fireworks and penalties associated with the use of illegal varieties. Possession or use of illegal fireworks in Florida is classified as a misdemeanor, and can carry fines up to $1,000 and even a year in prison.
Not all fireworks sold in a store in Florida are legal; sales of otherwise illegal fireworks can occur if vendors use a loophole in the law that allows them for approved purposes. The only fireworks that are legal for use by the public without a permit fall into the “sparklers” category, which includes items commonly known as sparklers, fountains, snakes and glow worms, which burn in bright colors without exploding. The state fire marshal has a full list, including brand names. This can be found at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/sfm/BFP/ApprovedSparklerLists.htm. The list does NOT include Roman Candles and similar fireworks that go airborne or explode.
- Know your fireworks. Read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
- A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities, Never give fireworks to children.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
- Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from buildings and vehicles.
- Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and soak it in a bucket of water.
- Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers.Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down. Place them in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
- Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police departments.
- The risk of fireworks injury is highest for young people aged 0-4, followed by children aged 10-14.
- A report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says there are about 200 firework injuries per day surrounding July 4.
- In 2013, sparklers caused 41 percent of fireworks injuries.
- Fireworks that have been ignited and fail to immediately explode or discharge can cause injury because they still may be active.
- Children should always tell an adult if they find fireworks rather than picking up smoking or charred fireworks themselves, which is too risky.