July 4th Fire Safety

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July 2, 2012 -- 1:50 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater today urged Floridians to celebrate safely during upcoming Fourth of July celebrations.

“The Fourth of July is a wonderful time to get together with family and friends to celebrate our nation’s independence,” CFO Atwater said. “If you choose to celebrate with fireworks, protect your family and friends by following the proper safety practices.”

In 2011, there were 271 fires caused by fireworks, two firework-related injuries and over $743,000 in property damage as a result of fires that were caused by fireworks.

The Division of State Fire Marshal has a list of more than 2,000 fireworks that are approved for use in Florida. Anyone purchasing fireworks should keep these safety tips in mind:

-- 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.

Floridians should not sign “waivers” in order to purchase fireworks. Signing a waiver will not clear a consumer of responsibility if caught illegally using fireworks.

For a complete list of the hundreds of Florida-approved sparklers for your family to enjoy, please visit http://www.myfloridacfo.com/sfm/sparklerindex.htm.

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