ESTERO, Fla. - With the 4th of July just days away, Southwest Florida fire departments are warning of the dangers fireworks can pose. Not only are most fireworks illegal in the State of the Florida, they can be extremely dangerous and state law only allows fireworks to be purchased for agricultural or mining purposes. In-fact It's a first degree misdemeanor to disobey the law, which can include a year in prison, a $1,000 fine and court costs. Not to mention each year 9,300 people end up in the emergency room with severe burns and injury's due to the improper use of fireworks. 18,000 fires are also caused by fireworks and sparklers each year leading to property damage and loss. The Estero Fire Department encourages you to watch firework shows put on by professionals instead of purchasing your own. However if you do purchase legal fireworks they offer the following tips:
- Never give sparklers to young children, as sparklers can reach temperatures between 1,300 and 1,800 degrees, at least 200 degrees hotter than a standard butane lighter.
- Keep pets indoors and away from all sparklers.
- Light only one item at a time and never attempt to re-light.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and water hose on-hand for emergencies and a bucket of water available for used sparklers.
- Only purchase sparklers from licensed vendors.
- Attend a public fireworks show. Many public displays sponsored by communities or organizations are presented all across Florida.