Division of State Fire Marshal
PUBLIC SAFETY USE
To: All Law Enforcement
and Fire Service Personnel
Subject: Law Enforcement and Inspections Guide to Fireworks and Sparkler Enforcement
Date: June 25, 2004
h The Division of State Fire Marshal has prepared a Law Enforcement and Inspections Guide to Fireworks and Sparkler Enforcement to better inform local law enforcement officers and fire officials in their enforcement activities of the fireworks and sparklers laws under Chapter 791, Florida Statutes, since some enforcement personnel may not be aware of the details and particulars of those laws.
h The Law Enforcement and Inspections Guide to Fireworks and Sparkler Enforcement may be used as a handy reference in determining whether fireworks and sparkler related conduct is legal or illegal.
h The enforcement of fireworks and sparkler laws is through local law enforcement. (Section 791.001, Florida Statutes).
h Annually there is a spike in fireworks related injuries at and near holiday periods.
h All law enforcement officers and fire officials should be aware of the Miketa decision, in which the 3rd District Court of Appeal held that if a person signs a statement saying that he or she comes within an exemption or exception to the prohibition of the sale of fireworks in Chapter 791, Florida Statutes, the fireworks dealer need not look beyond that statement. The statement may be provided by the seller of fireworks to the buyer for the buyer’s signature. Extreme care should be used when confronted with this kind of situation, since the Miketa decision is the law in this state.
h Some local governments have effectively closed the “loopholes” that exist in the illegal sale of fireworks by passage of county or municipal ordinances. Local governments are encouraged to review the ordinances of such localities as Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota Counties for reference. Local ordinances may be more restrictive than state laws and may include additional prohibitions and restrictions on fireworks and sparkler use, storage, sales, and disposal not addressed in the Law Enforcement and Inspections Guide.
h While Chapter 791 provides for the destruction of illegal fireworks, the Division of State Fire Marshal does not have rulemaking authority to provide for standards or procedures. The proper post-arrest destruction of fireworks is governed by Chapter 62-730, Florida Administrative Code, adopted in the rules of the Department of Environmental Protection. After seized property has served its purpose, for example, as evidence, law enforcement agencies may dispose of it under Section 705.105, Florida Statutes.
h Local law enforcement officers are strongly encouraged to contact and work with their local legal advisors prior to undertaking complex enforcement actions related to fireworks.