TAMPA, Fla. - Fireworks have been lighting up the skies for days leading up to the Fourth of July holiday, and that certainly will not change as Americans celebrate Independence Day.
But the Chief Financial Officer and Fire Marshal for the state of Florida, Jimmy Patronis, is warning people of the dangers of playing with fireworks, and wants everyone to stay safe.
A statistic by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission says more than 11,000 people were hurt while using fireworks last year.
The commission has a couple of important recommendations for everyone who plans on setting off some of their own: Firstly, do not let your children ignite or play with fireworks. Secondly, make sure you light one firecracker at a time and move away quickly after lighting it.
The State Fire Marshall recommends you should avoid unapproved fireworks and keep pets inside.
"Your own safety is something that, with fireworks, is your own responsibility," said Patronis. "The last thing we need to be doing is calling our first responders to your recklessness and neglect. So, please, enjoy the Fourth of July but enjoy it safe."
In Florida, people over 18 can buy fireworks that are usually prohibited, like firecrackers, torpedoes, and Roman candles.
You’re urged to avoid using these explosive fireworks, and it’s important to keep in mind that some rules vary county by county. Residents should check with their city or county government for firework ordinance information.
"As always the recommendation is to attend a professional public firework shoot rather than take on this activity on your own," Patronis said. "Fireworks can be loud and beautiful, we like to see everybody enjoy them but when you set one off personally you also assume the liability of any damage it may create."
In addition to keeping your pets inside, animal experts urge pet owners to leave their televisions on or play music to drown out the sound of fireworks so they don’t get spooked.
It is very common for dogs to run away on July 4th.