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CFO and State Fire Marshal Atwater Reminds Floridians to Celebrate Safely this Fourth of July

6/30/2011

Contact: Alexis Lambert
850-413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater today urged Floridians to celebrate safely during the upcoming holiday weekend, especially in light of ongoing drought conditions and the loss of two firefighters who were fighting a wildfire in Hamilton County last week, Josh Burch and Brett Fulton.
 
In 2010, there were 357 accidental fire incidents involving fireworks, resulting in nearly $1.7 million in damage and nine injuries.
 
“As you get together with friends and family this Fourth of July, remember to ensure that your county has not banned fireworks due to the severe drought that has been plaguing our state for months,” said CFO Atwater. “The proper fire safety precautions can help ensure that you make only good memories this holiday, and remember that public fireworks displays are a safe and fun way to celebrate our nation’s birthday.”
 
The Division of State Fire Marshal provides the following tips for safely using the wide variety of sparklers that are permitted in Florida, including: 
 
• Use sparklers on a hard, flat surface in an open area, away from houses, dry leaves, and flammable materials.

• Never give sparklers to young children, as sparklers can reach temperatures between 1,300 and 1,800 degrees - at least 200 degrees hotter than a standard butane lighter.  Keep pets indoors and away from all sparklers.

• Light only one item at a time and never attempt to re-light a “dud.”

• Keep a fire extinguisher and water hose on-hand for emergencies.  Keep a bucket of water available to drop used sparklers into.

• Always read and follow the directions on all sparkler labels and don’t use any unwrapped items that may have been tampered with.

• Only purchase sparklers from licensed vendors.
• Never have any portion of your body directly over a sparkler while lighting it.
 
Only use state-approved sparklers and be sure to pay attention to your surroundings, especially around children. Floridians should not sign waivers in order to purchase fireworks.  Signing a waiver will not clear a consumer of responsibility if caught illegally using fireworks.
 
For a complete list of the hundreds of Florida-approved sparklers for your family to enjoy, please visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com.  
 
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.