(By Fire Chief Matt Love) As the 4th of July quickly approaches, we know that people are looking forward to a fun filled holiday with family and friends. It is always a great time to celebrate with barbecues and booms, but we also want our visitors and residents to stay mindful of the dangers of fireworks to avoid a tragedy during the 4th of July holiday.
Each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using
consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks – devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death. Fireworks start over 19,000 fires and send over 9,000 people to the Emergency Room each year in the United States.
Here are some firework safety tips to follow:
Make sure that fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that
the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to
Always have an adult supervise firework activities. Parents don't realize that young
children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000
degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the
fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from
a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
We hope everyone stays safe and enjoys the Holiday weekend!
Chief Love has been the Fort Myers Beach Fire Chief since 2016. In 2019 he was selected by the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Lee County Florida as Fire Chief of the Year, and in 2020 he was named District Manager of the year for the state of Florida by the FASD. He can be reached at the fire department headquarters at 239- 590-4200