FORT LAUDERDALE - The Fourth of July weekend is around the corner and fire officials are warning the public about the dangers associated with setting off fireworks to celebrate America's birthday.
"Some of the injuries that we have encountered are like battlefield injuries," said Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Michael Kane.
To demonstrate the power of certain fireworks, the Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue set off M-80s and other powerful explosive fireworks in several watermelons, sending the fruit flying into the air in pieces.
"M-80s, which are a quarter stick of dynamite, in the hands of someone when it detonates can easily blow off their fingers or their entire hands," said Kane.
In Florida, fireworks that can go airborne or explode are illegal throughout the year except on three approved holidays - July 4th, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. State statutes regarding fireworks usage on the approved holidays were changed in 2020.
However, even fireworks that are legal year round can still pose a risk. For example, sparklers can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit at the tip so fire officials encourage residents to handle them safely.
"On average, about 250 people will seek medical attention for fireworks-related injuries on the days leading up to Fourth of July," said Kane.
Fireworks cause an average of 20,000 reported fires annually in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association. On a typical Independence Day, more fires are reported than on any other day.
Fire officials say it's best to leave the fireworks to the professionals.
"If you're going to participate and partake in fireworks do it safely," said Kane.
Another important safety item to consider is celebratory gunfire. Firing a gun in the air is not only against the law, it's extremely dangerous. Remember, falling bullets can kill.
for more features.