FORT MYERS, Fla. - Fireworks can be fun, but they can also be dangerous. If you plan on starting the celebration early, there are some safety precautions to keep in mind before lighting anything off.
Chris Whited is the owner of American Fireworks on U.S. 41 in Fort Myers. He recommends keeping at least 30 to 40 feet from any structure, like a home or building, before setting off fireworks.
It is also helpful to keep a bucket of water nearby in case you need to put out any sparks. Make sure there are no trees above the area where you plan to set them off.
Adults are the only ones who should handle fireworks. American Fireworks said they only recommend letting your kids handle snappers, which pop when they hit the ground. No matter what you use, it's important to completely read the instructions on the label, and to use the products as directed,
"No playing games," said White. "You can enjoy fireworks, but sometimes people talk about shooting things at each other, and we don't want those customers. We don't want people hurt."
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Florida Forest Service has some additional safety tips for Floridians planning to light off fireworks:
- Follow all fireworks laws for your county or city.
- Light fireworks on a cleared area free of any vegetation.
- Remove any debris from roofs or decks where fireworks could land.
- Discard used fireworks in a bucket of water.
- Report any fires immediately to 911.
Fire crackers are technically illegal under state law, but there is a loophole that allows customers to purchase them. Florida Statute 791.07 says "fireworks can be used solely and exclusively in frightening birds from agricultural works and fish hatcheries." Use could result in first degree misdemeanor charges and a fine of $1,000.