Politics

State Committees To Take Up Bills That Would Lift Fireworks Ban

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(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

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Politics

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A pair of state legislative committees will start the new year off with a bang.

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee and the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee are scheduled January 8th to take up bills that would lift a fireworks ban in Florida.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, sponsored the measures.

In Florida, there are few legal consumer fireworks.

But even the legal ones can be dangerous, according to fire safety experts. Sparklers can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit at the tip – hot enough to cause third degree burns or permanent disfigurement.

So what kinds of fireworks are legal in the state? Put it this way, if it flies or explodes it’s illegal. But that hasn’t stopped people from buying them. A loophole allows the sale of fireworks to people who sign statements saying they have exemptions from the law.

In 2011, there were 9,600 fireworks-related injuries in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Administration. About a quarter of those injuries were children under the age of 15.  That same year, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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