Parents in Action: Fireworks safety for the family

Celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks is as American as apple pie. But did you know more fires and burns are reported on the Fourth than any other due to improper setup? Florida has some of the loosest laws in regards to fireworks, so it is important that families research and prepare before marking our nation's independence.

This year we celebrate our country's 236th birthday and your family, like most, has exciting festivities planned. Here are some tips to help keep your party safe.

Before you buy fireworks make sure the retailer you are purchasing from has a certificate of registration issued by the State Fire Marshal. The certificate must contain the licensed address where sales are permitted and must be posted at the registered location. If you're not sure as to the fireworks that are legal in your area, visit the State of Florida, Division of State Fire Marshall's website . There you'll find a complete list of all approved fireworks.

Before you celebrate choose a location that is clear of trees and at least 100 feet from you home to set off your fireworks. Never use fireworks indoors or under a cover patio. Always have a working, full fire extinguisher on hand. One person should be assigned to this task and should know how to operate the extinguisher in case of a fire. Make sure that all pets are indoors. Animals have very sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened by explosions. Each spectator should have earplugs to keep their ears safe.

When lighting fireworks, light one at a time. If for some reason a firework is lighted and it does not go off, don't approach it and don't attempt to re-light it. Never hold a firework while it is being lighted or set off. All spectators should be at least 100 feet away since fireworks have been known to misfire or fire in the wrong direction. If someone is hurt, immediately stop all fireworks and seek medical attention.

Once the show is over before you get rid of fireworks, douse all the dead ones with a significant amount of water. Fifteen percent of fires reported on Fourth of July start in the trash. Clean up all fireworks related debris and trash and dispose of it properly.

Your fun can be easily spoiled by injury, so keep safety in the forefront of any activities. If you really want to be safe, relax and enjoy one of the free fireworks shows across the bay area. For a full list bay area fireworks shows, visit .


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