CFO and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater Reminds Floridians to Celebrate Safely this New Year’s Eve
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater is urging Floridians to celebrate safely during upcoming New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“New Year’s Eve is a holiday synonymous with indulgences, but we must be smart and recognize that fireworks can cause serious injuries when handled improperly or when used while under the influence of alcohol,” said CFO Atwater. “Have fun, but exercise safety and common sense this New Year’s Eve.”
Nearly 15 percent of structure fires in Florida during 2015 were caused by fireworks or other explosives, and firefighters across Florida responded to 141 fireworks-related incidents. It is important to note that fireworks are not approved for personal use in Florida. Only approved sparklers and fireworks purchased for approved agricultural or industrial purposes are legal in Florida.
However, anyone who chooses to use fireworks should keep these safety tips in mind:
• Never mix fireworks and alcohol. Attend a public fireworks show instead. Public displays are sponsored by communities and organizations across Florida
• Never give fireworks to young children. Even 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 fireworks
• Light only one item at a time and never attempt to re-light
• Keep a fire extinguisher and water hose on-hand for emergencies; also, keep a bucket of water available for used fireworks
• Only purchase sparklers from licensed vendors
Floridians should not sign waivers in order to purchase fireworks that are illegal for personal use in Florida. Signing a waiver will not clear a consumer of responsibility if caught illegally using fireworks. Local law enforcement agencies are charged with the enforcement of Florida fireworks laws. To learn more about fireworks enforcement, visit:
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services, serves as Florida’s State Fire Marshal, and is a member of the Florida Cabinet. 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.