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Fire Officials Stress Fireworks Safety On Fourth Of July

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(Source: AP)

(Source: AP)

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COOPER CITY (CBS4)- As many South Floridians celebrate the July 4th weekend with family, friends and fireworks the Broward County Sheriff’s Department wants to remind people about fireworks safety.

Officials held a demonstration Friday morning at the Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Station at 10550 Stirling Road in Cooper City to remind the public of the dangers.

The role play incidents demonstrated by the Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue Department highlighted the dangers people face when exposed to illegal fireworks, or when they handle legal fireworks without proper instruction or supervision.

Wilfredo Castro puts safety rules in place before setting off fireworks for his family and friends on the 4th.

“Adults only, safety goggles and maybe have a water hose handy just in case,” Castro told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “You don’t want to get hurt or any of the kids to get hurt.”

Castro’s 9-year-old son William said his dad gives him the same instruction each year — “To stay back and enjoy the show.”

William admits sometimes he wants to get a peek at the fireworks before they go off but he follows his father’s advice and stays away.

At TNT Fireworks in Dania Beach, sales are strong as they stay open around the clock into the July 4th holiday. Marketing Manager Susan Frosch said safety is paramount before setting off fireworks.

“We always say, look at your item, follow the directions,” Frosch said. “Every item is clearly marked with safety considerations and directions on how to use it. Follow them and be safe.”

On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires, more than any other cause of fires, according to a report released by the National Fire Protection Association.

Additionally, the risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 10-14, with more than twice the risk for the general population, the association said.

In 2009, fireworks caused an estimated 18,000 reported fires, including 1,300 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in no reported civilian deaths, 30 civilian injuries and $38 million in direct property damage.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said to remember the following safety tips if you are planning your own fireworks display:

* Light fireworks in a safe area, such as a driveway or other paved surface.
* Keep fireworks at least 25 feet away from grassy and vegetated areas.
* Never attempt to relight or alter malfunctioning fireworks. After allowing them to stand for several minutes, discard in a pail of water. Keep a hose and bucket of water nearby.
* Light one firework at a time, and move away quickly. Fireworks should never be held or thrown. Remain a safe distance away from the devices.
* If clothes catch fire, remember to STOP, DROP onto the ground, cover your face, and ROLL over and over until the fire goes out.
* Always have a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher nearby.

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