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Crews Conduct Sweep For Illicit Fireworks In Miami-Dade

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maggieheadshot Maggie Newland
Maggie Newland is a reporter at CBS4. She arrived at the station ...
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South Florida Crime

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Those selling fireworks around Miami-Dade got visits from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue inspectors conducting sweeps for possible illicit fireworks.

Inspectors started the sweeps at 11:00 a.m. and visited 44  locations across the county where fireworks are sold.

They are making sure vendors are properly certified in Florida as well as checking to make sure all the fireworks being sold are legal.

Fire Inspector Ozzy Norat explained, “We check the fireworks one by one make sure the packaging is intact, the fuses are not sticking out.  We make sure everything is sealed.”

The inspections are part of a move to help improve safety on the fourth of July and prevent the use of illegal fireworks which could endanger those around them.

“The safest and most enjoyable way to see fireworks is to attend a show conducted by trained professionals,” said Fire Marshal Alan Cominsky in a statement on Thursday. “The dangers associated with consumer fireworks are too high and not worth the risk of an injury.”

Doctors echoed that advice. “Leave it to the pros,” said Dr. Nicholas Namias, Medical Director or Ryder Trauma Center.  “This is something where you can go see a beautiful show. You can’t match it at home.  On the 4th of July weekend, fireworks and children and alcohol don’t mix.”

Emergency rooms across the United States treated an estimated 8,700 people for injuries related to fireworks in 2012, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The risk of fireworks-related injuries was the highest for young people ages 15-24, followed by children under the age of 10.

Namias said South Florida will likely see its share of injuries.

“Every ER in the county will get a few. Some will be transferred into the burn center at Jackson,” he said, adding that most fireworks injuries aren’t serious, but some will be permanently debilitating.   “You literally will blow off fingers, or you will fracture hands, or you will burn hands to the point you will get scars and the loss of use of your fingers,” he said.

Those who do decide to put on their own mini-fireworks show for friends and neighbors should take certain precautions. Parents should closely supervise children when lighting personal fireworks and by purchasing only legal fireworks. It’s important for parents to be present when fireworks are ignited, and to ensure that the materials are lit in an open area away from homes, vehicles and any combustibles.

Young children should not be allowed to handle fireworks. Don’t forget, even sparklers, which burn at over 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, can be dangerous if used improperly.  Parents should teach children to be prepared, safe and responsible.

Before you set off those fireworks, here’s a reminder of what you can and can’t do:
• 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 and an extinguisher 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.
• After a fireworks display, children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over, they may still be active.
• The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals.

Watch Maggie Newland’s report, click here

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