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Gallagher Urges Safe New Year’s Celebration

12/28/2006

CONTACT:   FLDFS Press Office
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE—Florida's State Fire Marshal Tom Gallagher is urging Floridians to celebrate the New Year safely and to remember that in Florida only sparklers are legal for the general public to use without a permit.
 
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 http://www.fldfs.com/sfm/sparklerindex.htm.
 
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. 
 
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 - at least 200 degrees hotter than a standard butane lighter. 

Gallagher advises Floridians to follow these precautions to celebrate safely:
 
• Use sparklers and other legal novelties on a flat, hard surface.
• 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. 

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