As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s independence, we plan parties and other celebrations with friends and family. Whether spending the day watching fireworks, lying on the beach or out on the boat, it is always important to avoid dangerous situations so a fun day isn’t ruined. If you plan to light some firecrackers yourself, it is also important to understand which fireworks are legal in Florida. By following a few simple safety steps, you can keep your friends and family safe and trouble free on the Fourth of July:
- Protect Yourself from the Sun: Apply sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15 often and limit exposure from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest. Hydrate regularly, drinking water and avoiding alcohol. Wear sunglasses that protect eyes from UV rays and remember to watch for signs of heat stroke such as a rapid or weak pulse, rapid or shallow breathing and hot or red skin.
- Grill Safely: Backyard grills can cause injuries. Never grill inside, and make sure to always watch your outdoor grill when using it. Place the grill away from trees, the house, decking or other items that could catch fire. Keep kids and pets away from the grill while in use and don’t use charcoal starter fluid after the coals have been ignited.
- Swim Safely: More than 100 people die each year in the United States from rip currents, according to the United States Lifesaving Association. Rip currents are powerful, and these currents of water flowing away from shore account for 80 percent of rescues by lifeguards. The American Red Cross recommends swimming parallel to the shore when encountering a rip current and floating or treading water until free of the currents. Only swim at beaches with lifeguards and follow instructions given by the guards. The American Red Cross also recommends keeping children under supervision at all times while in swimming pools and ensuring everyone knows how to swim by taking lessons.
- Learn About Boating Safety: If you plan to spend Independence Day on a boat, take a boating safety course in advance of the holiday and have your boat checked for safety. Create a pre-departure checklist, learn about carbon monoxide and watch the weather. Remember to operate at safe speeds, navigate carefully, select an assistant skipper, wear a life jacket and follow a float plan. Read more about boating safety by clicking here.
- Know Which Fireworks are Legal in Florida: Even though you can purchase fireworks in some stores or roadside stands, most fireworks are illegal for use by consumers without special permits in Florida. State of Florida law defines fireworks as any combustible or explosive device that produces a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration or detonation. The law goes on to explain that the term includes blank cartridges and toy cannons using explosives, balloons that require fire to propel them, firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, roman candles and dago bombs. According to the law, most sparklers, toy pistols, toy canes, toy guns and other devices using paper caps with less than twenty-five hundredths grains or less of explosive compound are generally not prohibited by Florida state law. Other novelties are not prohibited by Florida Statutes, including snakes or glow worms, smoke devices, trick noisemakers, party poppers, booby traps, snappers, trick matches, cigarette loads and auto burglar alarms (tubes that produce loud whistles or smoke when ignited). It must be noted that while certain novelties are not banned by state law, their possession or use may be restricted by county or municipal ordinances or regulations. Further, county and municipal laws may impose restrictions on fireworks beyond those described in Florida Statutes.
- Attend Public Fireworks Shows: To stay safe, it is best to leave the fireworks to the experts. The City of Jacksonville is hosting a fireworks show at 9:45 p.m. on July 4, viewable from multiple locations downtown. Head to St. Augustine for fireworks over the Matanzas River or visit Fernandina Beach for fireworks, both starting at 9:30 p.m. Keystone Heights Fourth of July celebrations include a street dance, 5K run and fireworks. Green Cove Springs 4th of July events include music, kids’ activities, food and fireworks. Orange Park Fourth of July events take place at Moosehaven featuring a live concert and fireworks.
Glober Law Firm is a Jacksonville personal injury law firm representing victims of auto accidents, bicycle accidents, dog bites and attacks, head and spinal cord injuries, motorcycle accidents, negligent hiring, negligent security, pedestrian accidents, physical assaults, premises liability, slip and fall accidents and wrongful death. Contact Glober Law Firm today for help with your personal injury case.
The contents of this article are provided for educational and informational purposes only and are not to be construed as legal advice.