Fireworks Safety Tips from the Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care in Tampa, FL

fireworks-safetyFor many Floridians, Independence Day will be capped off with the brilliant spectacle of fireworks. Along with their beauty, however, comes a fair amount of danger. The best way to stay safe is to attend one of the many public fireworks displays in the area and leave the lighting to the professionals.

Many types of fireworks are illegal for consumer use without a permit in Florida. This can be confusing because fireworks are often readily available for purchase. Usually, the customer is asked to sign a waiver stating that the fireworks will be used in compliance with state law, which permits their usage for certain purposes, such as agriculture and mining.

In addition, during times of drought, some cities and counties ban the consumer use of fireworks altogether. Therefore, before using any fireworks at home, you should first check with your local police department to ensure that they are legal where you live. If you get the all-clear and decide to proceed, you’ll want to keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Purchase fireworks that are clearly labeled with the manufacturer’s name and directions, and store them in a cool, dry place.
  • Do not allow children to play with fireworks. Even sparklers – widely thought to be safe for children – can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt gold. If you allow the kids to have sparklers, an adult should carefully supervise their use outside.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket – friction can set them off.
  • Use the fireworks outside and have a hose and bucket of water nearby. Before you start, clear the area of leaves, sticks, brush, and other flammable materials.
  • Be aware – and warn others in the area – that fireworks can backfire or unintentionally shoot off in the wrong direction.
  • That said, point fireworks away from people, homes, other structures, and trees.
  • Light one firework at a time. Do not hold the firework in your hand or hover over it while lighting. Never attempt to handle or relight a malfunctioning firework; instead, douse it with water.
  • Keep your pets indoors. Some animals have sensitive ears and can become extremely agitated by the noise.
  • If an eye injury occurs, place a paper cup over the affected eye and seek medical attention immediately. Do not attempt to flush the eye with water or apply ointment, which can cause further damage.
  • If a burn injury occurs, remove any clothing from the burned area and run cool water over the burn (do not apply cold water or ice). Call a doctor right away.
  • After the used fireworks have cooled, carefully pick up the pieces and drop them into a bucket of water before throwing them away.

With proper planning and preparation, you can ensure that your family’s Fourth of July experience will be an enjoyable and memorable one. For additional family health and safety tips, take a look at our online series of health articles. If you have questions, please feel free to contact or visit a Tampa doctor at the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic.