MIAMI (CBSMiami) – July 4th is usually a day of family and friends gathering, possibly a day at the beach, and of course, fireworks shows.
But the coronavirus pandemic has changed that this year.
Gatherings outside immediate family members are discouraged to stem the spread, the beaches are closed for the same reason, and most cities have canceled their fireworks shows.
So instead of going to a show, this year many people may be tempted to put on their own with store-bought fireworks.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said with an increase in at-home fireworks displays, there’s also a higher risk for fireworks-related injuries and potential fire hazards.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), U.S. emergency rooms treated an estimated 10,000 fireworks-related injuries in 2019.
Sparklers were the leading cause of injuries, accounting for an estimated 900 injuries. Similar to last year, nearly half of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age.
A new state law allows fireworks to be legally set off on three days, including July 4th. However, anything that flies or explodes can’t be sold in Miami-Dade. But if Miami-Dade residents buys them elsewhere, they can legally set them off.
Those that are legal should be used in a safe manner.
“It’s important to light fireworks on a driveway or a paved surface, away from grassy areas or anything that can burn. Never let children play with or ignite fireworks. Sparklers are especially dangerous for kids as these can burn at very, very high temperatures,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Erika Benitez.
Always buy fireworks from approved vendors and always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Fireworks should only be set off one at a time and move away quickly once they are lit.
Never attempt to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Keep already used fireworks away from unlit ones.
Always keep a garden hose, a bucket of water, or fire extinguisher close by in case of emergency.
To prevent a trash fire, soak used fireworks in water before throwing them in the trash.
Call 9-1-1 immediately in case of a fire or burn emergency.