Fourth of July fireworks safety tips
For those celebrating at home and not at Jernigan's Landing for Riverfest, the Milton Fire Department urges you to use caution and stay safe. A report by CPSC finds a 50 percent increase in deaths and injuries from fireworks-related incidents in 2020, compared to 2019. At least 18 people died from fireworks-related incidents in 2020, compared to 12 reported for the previous year. About 15,600 people were treated in hospital emergency departments for fireworks injuries in 2020. There were about 10,000 ER-treated fireworks injuries in 2019.
Here are a few tips to celebrate safely:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt some metals.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishaps.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from the fireworks device quickly.
- Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water, and throw them away.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
- After fireworks complete their burning, to prevent a trash fire, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase and set off fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.
- Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- For more fireworks safety tips, visit www.cpsc.gov
Keep your pets safe! Remember, furbabies and fireworks don't mix! Shelters often see an increase in lost pets after fireworks displays. Santa Rosa County Animal Services asks you to follow these tips to help keep your pet safe:
- Keep pets indoors during the evening of July 4. Turn on the TV or radio as a distraction and close the curtains. Provide a pet bed or crate in a quiet place to create a small den-like place and a sense of security.
- Take your pet for an extra potty break before fireworks begin. If your pet becomes frightened, this can help prevent accidents.
- If your pet often becomes stressed from loud noises like thunderstorms, check with your veterinarian to see if a tranquilizer is appropriate for your pet during the festivities.
- If you are near a fireworks display or if neighbors are lighting fireworks, don't leave your pets unattended outside, not even in a fenced yard or on a chain. Frightened pets may try to escape a fenced yard or become tangled in their chains.
- Make sure your pets have proper identification tags with current information in the event they run away. If you must be outside with your pet, keep the pet on a leash or in a carrier at all times.
- Do not leave your pet in a vehicle while watching a fireworks display. In only a matter of minutes, the heat in a car can cause serious health problems or death, even at night. Also, a stressed animal can cause major damage to your vehicle's interior.
If your pet is missing, call Santa Rosa County Animal Services at (850) 983-4680 or click the "Search Lost Pets" tab at www.santarosa.fl.gov/animals.
While the City of Milton has no ordinances that restrict or limit the use of fireworks, citizens should note that Florida law (Florida Statutes 791.02 and 791.08) generally prohibits the use of fireworks except for on the following dates:
- New Year's Day (January 1st)
- Independence Day (July 4th)
- New Year's Eve (December 31st)
What does that mean for Milton City Residents? Stay safe, and have fun! According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2020, U.S. hospitals treated an estimated 15,600 people for sparkler and fireworks-related injuries. Of those injuries, 10,300 of them occurred between June 21 and July 21. Children and young adults below the age of 25 represent the majority of these injuries. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that "Fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires and 500 vehicle fires.
So, as our nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, we ask you to follow the laws, to be safe, and to exercise good judgment when using fireworks.