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Safety stressed for those planning a DIY fireworks show

Safety stressed for those planning to set off their own July 4th fireworks
Safety stressed for those planning to set off their own July 4th fireworks 02:03

FORT LAUDERDALE - It's the Fourth of July.

For many that means barbecues, a gathering of family and friends, and, of course, fireworks.

While there are a number of professional fireworks shows that people can attend, there are always those who like to do it themselves.

If you, or someone you know, is planning to set off personal fireworks, please remember safety first.

"Some of the injuries that we have encountered are like battlefield injuries," said Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Michael Kane.

On Saturday, a Lauderdale Lakes man's hand was severed when a firework exploded. 

Kane said some fireworks can be very powerful.

"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.

Even sparklers, which are legal year-round, can pose a risk. They can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit at the tip so fire officials encourage residents to handle them safely.

Thousands of fireworks-related injuries are treated in hospital emergency rooms across the country each year. Most often those injured are teens using store-bought fireworks, according to the state's health department.  

Common sense when setting off fireworks can help prevent injury.

"Remember to light one firework at a time and move away quickly," said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokeswoman Erika Benitez.

Always read the follow the directions on fireworks packaging and never hold them in your hand or stand over them once the fuse is lit.

Also, if a firework is a dud, accept it and move on.

"Never attempt to relight or handle fireworks that did not ignite the first time," said Benitez.

Keep already used fireworks away from unlit ones.

Always keep a garden hose, a bucket of water, or a 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.

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