GALLAGHER URGES FLORIDIANS TO CELEBRATE SAFELY
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Tom Gallagher is
urging Floridians to think about fire safety as they make their Fourth of
July plans. In Florida, only sparklers are legal for the general public to
use without a permit, so Gallagher said citizens who want to see fireworks
should attend a professional show.
“The Fourth of July is a great time for families and friends to relax
together and reflect on the freedoms we all enjoy,” Gallagher said. “But
fireworks can be dangerous, especially to children, and for that reason
items that launch or explode are illegal in Florida.”
For a list of hundreds of sparklers that are legal to use in Florida, as
well as safety tips, visit the State Fire Marshal’s web site at
Illegal fireworks include shells and mortars, multiple tube devices, Roman
candles, rockets and firecrackers. Floridians should not sign “waivers” in
order to purchase fireworks. Signing a waiver will not clear you of
responsibility should you be caught using them, and using fireworks
illegally is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail
and a $1,000 fine. If you cause a fire or damage someone’s property, you
could also be held personally liable.
Even with legal sparklers there is still a risk of injury. When lit, some
sparklers can reach temperatures between 1,300 and 1,800 degrees, which is
at least 200 degrees hotter than a standard butane lighter.
Illegal fireworks aren’t the only fire hazard facing Floridians looking to
celebrate this weekend. Gallagher said grills and camp fires also can pose
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that each year about 30
people die and 100 people are injured as a result of charcoal and gas grill
fires, explosions and misuse. Many of these fires and explosions occur when
consumers first use a grill that has been left idle for a period of time or
just after refilling and reattaching the grill's gas container.
State Fire Marshal Gallagher advises Floridians to follow these precautions
to celebrate safely:
Use sparklers and other legal novelties on a flat, hard surface. Do not
light them on grass.
Use sparklers in an open area. Keep children and pets at least 30 feet away
from all ignited sparklers.
Light only one item at a time and never attempt to re-light a “dud.”
Don’t use any unwrapped items or items that may have been tampered with.
Keep a fire extinguisher or water hose on-hand for emergencies. It’s a good
idea to drop used sparklers in a bucket of water.
Check the tubes that lead into the gas burner for any blockage from insects,
spiders, or food grease. Use a pipe cleaner or wire to clear blockage.
Check for gas leaks, following the manufacturer's instructions, if you smell
gas or when you reconnect the grill to the LP gas container. If you detect a
leak, immediately turn off the gas and don't attempt to light the grill
until the leak is fixed.
Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, leaks or sharp bends.
Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot
grease. If you can't move the hoses, install a heat shield to protect them.
Never use a grill indoors. Use the grill at least 10 feet away from your
house or any building.
Never burn charcoal inside of homes, vehicles, tents, or campers. Charcoal
should never be used indoors, even if ventilation is provided.
NOTE: Gallagher also reminds Floridians to check the batteries in their