[UPDATE] Drought Conditions Puts Fireworks In Question

By: Letisha Bush Email
By: Letisha Bush Email

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 23, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

As Floridians plan their patriotic celebrations this summer, experts urge consumers to consider safety this Independence Day.

"Fireworks, sparklers and novelties are integral to any Fourth of July
celebration, and Americans enjoy the tradition of lighting them to make
the festivities brighter," says Tommy Glasgow, president of TNT(R)
Fireworks East. TNT Fireworks is the largest distributor of consumer
fireworks and sparklers in the United States and has been in the
business for more than 50 years. "As Floridians light up the night this
Independence Day, TNT encourages safety for a safe and sane Fourth of

Nationally, fireworks consumption increased 635 percent between 1976
and 2008[1] (29.0 million pounds versus 213.2 million pounds
respectively), while fireworks-related injuries decreased dramatically
from 38.3 injuries to 3.3 injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks
during that same time period, according to the most recent data
available from the American Pyrotechnics Association.

"For decades, fireworks, sparklers and novelties have enhanced
countless celebrations. To continue the downward trend in
fireworks-related injuries, though, consumers must prioritize safety
and have a general understanding of how these devices function,"
Conkling says. "Following a few simple guidelines -- such as only using
fireworks, sparklers and novelties outdoors in clear areas away from
buildings and dry grass and always keeping a bucket of water on hand
for emergencies -- will help people stay safe."John Conkling, a
nationally renowned fireworks expert and spokesman for the American
Pyrotechnics Association, attributes the steep decline in injuries over
the years to the fireworks industry's consumer safety and education
initiatives during the last three decades.

Despite the decline in injuries, however, Conkling says consumers
should resolve to use only devices permitted by state law while
adhering to safety warnings and instructions that appear on product

While consumers consider which products will add the most sparkle to
their Fourth of July celebrations, Conkling recommends they check the
credibility of the distributor to make sure its products are reliable
and come from a credible source.

"Not all fireworks, sparklers and novelties are the same," Conkling
says, "and consumers should purchase only legal products that are
distributed by a trusted, established company, like TNT Fireworks, that
puts people and safety above all else."

Here are a few fireworks, sparklers and novelties safety tips to
consider this Fourth of July:

Adult Supervision. Adults should always be present when lighting or
handling fireworks, sparklers and novelties. Never allow young children
to light or handle them.

Look for Labels and Read the Instructions. Instructions and warnings
are required by law. Check the credibility of the distributor to make
sure their fireworks, sparklers and novelties are reliable, legal and
that they come from a licensed source.

Stay Alert. Never mix alcohol and fireworks, sparklers and novelties.

Take Precautions. Always keep a hose and a bucket of water nearby in
case of emergencies.

Outdoors Only. Use fireworks, sparklers and novelties outdoors, only in
clear areas, away from houses, buildings and dry grass. Be sure to use
them only on flat hard surfaces.

Let Sleeping Sparklers Lie. Don't try to relight fireworks, sparklers
and novelties that don't ignite. Wait 15 to 20 minutes, then douse and
soak them with water and throw them away.

Protect Your Pets. Animals are often frightened by the sounds of
fireworks, sparklers and novelties. To protect your "best friends,"
keep them indoors -- away from the loud noise -- and secure.

Keep Clear. Never hold a lit firework or novelty in your hand. Keep as
far from the firework or sparkler as possible when lighting.

One at a Time. Light only one firework, sparkler or novelty item at a

Obey All Laws. Please obey Florida state laws regarding the use of
fireworks, sparklers and novelties.

TNT fireworks, sparklers and novelties will be available through July 4
at numerous major retailers, as well as stand and tent sale locations
throughout Florida. For more safety information, or to find a location
where TNT products are sold in Florida, visit www.TNTFireworks.com.

[1] Consumption per million pounds

Fireworks, Sparklers and Novelties Safety Tips

-- Adult supervision. Never allow children to light or handle them.
-- Stay Alert. Never mix alcohol with fireworks, sparklers and novelties.
-- Take Precautions. Always keep a hose and a bucket of water nearby in
case of emergencies.
-- Let Sleeping fireworks, sparklers and novelties Lie. Don't try to
relight fireworks, sparklers and novelties that don't ignite. Wait 15 -
20 minutes, then douse and soak them with water and throw them away.


Wakulla County, FL -- June 21, 2011

It's fireworks season and vendors have set up their tents in preparation for the holiday.

"It's a pretty big deal for us. We set it off every fourth of July, every New Year. And we always get them right here," said Shelley Paul.

But this year may be different. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said a drought currently covers over 93 % of the state. Polk and Volusia County have already placed a firework ban over their area.

Mike Champion has owned firework businesses in Wakulla County for over ten years. He said, a drought has never stopped his business and hopes it never will.

"It's something I look forward to every year. I go out in public and kids are like Mike, Mike, you gonna be there?"

Champion also said.

"Sure man I'm gonna be there. And with all the fire bans going on...I've got a lot of money here invested. All my savings and everything."

City of Tallahassee officials said, in 1999 over 45,000 fires were started by fireworks, and their response to the firework fun---leave it the professionals.

For tips on how to stay safe while shooting fireworks, click this link:

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