Fireworks Safety Tips for New Year’s Eve
What is New Year’s Eve without fireworks? Well, technically, it’s a totally legal one. You heard us right: fireworks are illegal in Florida.
Fireworks, along with champagne and noise makers, are a staple of end-of-year parties. People shoot them off in their driveways, attend public displays, and let children play with sparklers. Drive along the highway, and you’ll see numerous pop-up shops selling the biggest and best fireworks. If they’re illegal, why are they so popular and prominent?
An Interesting Loophole
It’s all thanks to birds! According to Florida Statutes, fireworks are legal if they are used solely and exclusively in frightening birds from agricultural works and fish hatcheries. When you purchase them, you have to sign a waiver that says you’ll use them only for scaring away birds. Of course, the vast majority of people are not using fireworks for agricultural purposes. But the loophole protects businesses, and gives people a solid, if somewhat dubious, excuse.
There are a few other exceptions:
- Illumination or signaling for railroads or other transportation agencies
- Ceremonial purposes in athletics
- Military organizations
If you’ve already purchased your Roman candles and firecrackers, you probably don’t need to worry about getting arrested. Police officers and fire marshals rarely enforce this law. However, if fireworks are being used dangerously and the police get called, it could result in a first degree misdemeanor. This could mean up to one year in jail, or a $1,000 fine.
Fireworks are illegal for a reason. They can be incredibly dangerous if used improperly or irresponsibly. An accident could lead to lost limbs, severe burns, eye trauma or blindness. In some cases, an accident may also cause death. If you’re planning to use them on New Year’s Eve, follow these tips and make safety your top priority.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or water hose on-hand for emergencies. Drop used sparklers in a bucket of water.
- Use sparklers on a flat, hard surface in an open area. Do not light them on grass.
- Keep children at least 30 feet away from all ignited sparklers.
- Be sure to also consider the safety of your pets! Animals may be afraid of loud noises, causing them to become agitated or aggressive.
- Light only one item at a time and never attempt to re-light a “dud.”
- Don’t use any unwrapped items or items that may have been tampered with.
- Only purchase from licensed vendors.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. After the display, children should never pick up fireworks because they may still be active.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.