[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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  • by Anonymous on Jun 22, 2011 at 08:41 AM
    It wouldn't matter if we were in a monsoon, all the good fireworks are illegal in Florida. Anything that leaves the ground or goes 'pop' is outlawed for use in Florida unless you are a licensed pyrotech. Pretty dumb if you ask me. If too dry, I have no problem with a ban. That is common sense, but during rainy times aerials shoudl be allowed on private property outside the city limits. It amazed me how many illegal fireworks are sold in Florida and the buyer must state they will be used outside of Florida. Much cheaper to buy in Alabama, Georgia or Tennessee anyways.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 23, 2011 at 01:48 PM in reply to
      Not really. Disney puts on a pretty good fireworks show, and I don't think they've ever had legal issues with them. It's all about money.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jun 23, 2011 at 05:42 PM in reply to
        Disney has licensed pyrotechs. The average Joe won't be approved for such a license. Florida has one of the strictest fireworks laws in the nation.
  • by Cletus Norman Location: Tallahassee, Florida on Jun 22, 2011 at 08:06 AM
    Folks we live in a part of North America, where drought happens every year. If you want to celebrate July 4th., 2011, I suggest to the towns and cities that want to ban fireworks to go rent a smoke machine and do laser light shows! It doesn't create a fire, it doesn't fissle if it rains, in fact it is more astounding in the rain. The technology is available, it doesn't pose a danger of explosion when it arrives or if stored. This IS the future of celebrations.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 23, 2011 at 01:50 PM in reply to Cletus Norman
      The draw with fireworks is that even the kids can light off sparklers and take an active role in celebrating. There aren't too many kids walking around with a smoke machine and lasers.
  • by Akil Location: Tallahassee on Jun 22, 2011 at 05:10 AM
    The only possible solution that is proposed in this article is to ban the sale or use of fireworks? The person who sells firework, by the way, is not the only person who is invested in their sale. Firworks are as American as Apple pie, baseball, mom, and a few other choice items. You can take away our fireworks, but then we will cease to be Americans. Why not a partial ban on fireworks? There are already limits on certain items, those deemed most unsafe by fire officials in specific counties. Why not encourage folks to avoid the vast majority of the things that fly in the air and stick with the stuff that is mostly lit on the ground? The author of this article seems to produce a one sided view of fireworks with the only possible solution is to have "experts" do the work for you (we are too dumb to use our own fireworks so we have to have others do the job for us?). The fire dept could have classes in the proper use of fireworks (in which they could also show why certain fireworks are not allowed in certain areas). The more time firefighters spend teaching the public how to use fireworks, the fewer fires will be started Welcome to the nanny state where all adults are treated like children and all children are are not given a chance to play. Fireworks have been "dumbed down" for quite some time to make them safer (They have limits of how much gun powder can go into each one). Freedoms are being limited every day and among the freedoms that this country does NOT ensure is the freedom to express one's love of country through a bog ole "boom". The day they outlaw fireworks is the day the nanny state has taken over completely!
    • reply
      by Brutal Capital City, Fl. on Jun 22, 2011 at 08:19 AM in reply to Akil
      You, are a drone. That's all you are doing, drone...drone...drone. What exactly is a "...partial ban on fireworks?" Does the word "FIRE" mean anything to you? "Stick with the stuff that is mostly lit on the ground..." That is what you blogged, isn't it? Lady, you go from "classes in proper use of fireworks," to "Welcome to the nanny state..." Let the world know how you really feel. Take a stand. I swear that I will wait for your response! And then I will dismantle it, again! Word!
    • reply
      by Dry as a Bone on Jun 22, 2011 at 08:19 AM in reply to Akil
      I am an American because of the Declaration of Independence. Not baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, chevrolet.....and fireworks!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 22, 2011 at 08:43 AM in reply to Akil
      Every firecracker (from small to large) an anything that leaves the ground has been illegal in Florida for a LONG time. The entire state made it illegal many, many years ago unless you have a pyrotech license.
    • reply
      by Cletus Norman Tallahassee on Jun 22, 2011 at 11:10 AM in reply to Akil
      Have you ever really seen a photo of The Star Bangled Banner, that flew above Fort McHenry? It is a glorious demonstration of our Independence because it was so massive. Google this, and you will see no need for fireworks! This is what it is! You don't need projectiles or things that go 'boom.' You just need to look at The Star Spangled Banner, and understand what it means to witness it today. That flag was from 1814. The British came back, we had to repell them twice! Think about it. Would you feel this way, if you had a King, or a Queen?
      • reply
        by ga on Jun 23, 2011 at 09:14 AM in reply to Cletus Norman Tallahassee
  • by Dry as a Bone Location: Tallahassee on Jun 22, 2011 at 04:19 AM
    You have a lot of money invested in this? Well by all means then, fireworks sales and use should go on because you have a lot of money invested. Want to know what I have a lot of money invested in? MY HOUSE and PROPERTY! That I would prefer not to have burned down because some idiot in my neighborhood buys fireworks from you. It is critically dry and the fire risk is high, so no one should be selling or using fireworks. I hope the law shuts you down.
    • reply
      by bcg on Jun 22, 2011 at 06:32 AM in reply to Dry as a Bone
      I totally agree with DRY AS A BONE! People are not smart about the use of FIREWORKS - combine that with Drinking....wow! There are already hundreds of wild fires in the state. Do you honesty think that the fire departments have time classes on the proper way to use fireworks? They should only be left to the experts during this critically dry season. Enough say!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 23, 2011 at 01:56 PM in reply to Dry as a Bone
      Common sense goes a long way, and if poeple are stupid enough to burn your house down they should pay for it to be rebuilt. I know your gonna tell me that not everyone has the money, but you are suggesting the government spend my (tax)money (enforcing a ban) for a hypothetical issue. There is always a risk of fire when dealing with fireworks, not just during a drought. Your argument could be made any year, so I think you are just blowing smoke (pun intended).
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