Fireworks Safety Precautions for Your 4th of July Celebrations

The 4th of July fireworks add sparks of excitement to the Independence Day festivities. With the holidays coming next Monday, residents of Southwest Florida should consider fireworks safety for their celebrations.

The Lehigh Acres Fire and Rescue District points out that while residents feel they know fireworks safety, July 4 remains one of the most dangerous holidays in the United States. “Often with fireworks the biggest danger is lack of oversight or the assumption that because you’re buying them over-the-counter they’re safe. So we’re seeing a lot of young kids going to the emergency room with burns,” said Katie Heck, district public relations officer.

For example, sparklers can burn at temperatures approaching 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to burn some metals. Last year’s holiday accounted for 1,100 Americans who visited the emergency room with sparkler-related burns, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2021 annual fireworks report. Report,

“Fireworks can be tricky. They ignite the sparks, sometimes they misfire, sometimes they don’t explode as expected, and people get caught off guard and that leads to injuries,” Heck said.

“We can see anything from fireworks going off in trees or houses or igniting nearby flammable materials and catching that on fire, so you might have like a mulch fire or a fire bush or potentially catch your house on fire,” said Naples Fire-Relief Department Fire Marshal Kyle Rambosk.

Safety advice recommended by the Lehigh Acres Fire and Rescue District is to never use homemade fireworks and to light fireworks away from people, homes and wooded areas . It is advisable to light fireworks in an area clear of vegetation or dry debris and to clear debris from areas where fireworks may land.

It is important to dispose of used fireworks in a bucket of water, always have a water source available, and call 911 if a fire breaks out. Local fire departments are receiving an increase in fire calls this holiday.

“If you are going to be using fireworks at home, the biggest thing we would recommend is to make sure children are supervised at all times, that you have water available so you can put out small fires if one of the fireworks was to start a fire in your yard and then maybe just choose safer alternatives to fireworks,” Heck said.

Safe alternatives include glow sticks, light coke rockets, confetti balloons, colored bubbles, and silly strings. After the holidays, it is advisable to store fireworks, matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children.

Another way to avoid injury from fireworks is to let the professionals deal with it. “We recommend going to a professional fireworks display. Bring your family and hang out at one of your local community exhibits,” Heck said.

Fireworks are held throughout Southwest Florida. Safety at events is first and foremost on the minds of professionals. For example, Rambosk has defined land and sea perimeters for the Naples Pier fireworks To display at 9 p.m. on July 4. The fireworks will be launched from a barge into the gulf at least 1,000 feet from the beach.

“Our main issues that we have are people who like to get their boats out and watch the fireworks, so we have to maintain a security perimeter around the fireworks in case anything happens,” said Rambosk said.

Local fireworks can be viewed safely at the following locations:

Punta Gorda hosts Freedom Fest at Laishley Park, where the fireworks will begin at 9 p.m. There will also be fireworks at 9 p.m. at Independence Holiday Celebration in fishing village.

The town of Sanibel welcomes Red, wild and blue which will have fireworks.

Cape Coral hosts Red, white and boomlocated on Cape Coral Parkway at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Downtown Fort Myers hosts freedom day, where fireworks will be launched around 9 p.m. into the Caloosahatchee River. Fort Myers Beach will have fireworks at Times Square also around 9 p.m.

Lehigh Acres hosts freedom day at Victory Town Center from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Bonita Springs hosts Star Bonita from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with fireworks.

Naples holds a fireworks display around 9 p.m. on a houseboat north of the Naples Pier. There will also be an exhibition at Sugden Regional Park around 9 p.m.

Marco Island will launch fireworks around 9 p.m. from Residents Beach.

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Susan W. Lloyd