May July the Fourth Be With You

June 27, 2018

For many Americans, the Fourth of July is not the same without an exciting display of fireworks.  Fireworks have been a part of Independence Day since the very first celebration in 1777. Every year the tradition lives on with a fantastic show of patriotism across the country.

Safety First

While fireworks are a lot of fun, it is important to recognize some safety and legal issues. According to the National Council on Fireworks Safety, approximately 10,000 people are injured by fireworks annually, and 40% of those injuries come from illegal fireworks. Also, about 45% of those injuries involved children 15 or younger. Fireworks are responsible for about 20,000 fires each year.

It is no surprise that each state has passed its own laws concerning fireworks. Some states are strict; New York and Massachusetts do not allow any consumer fireworks. Arizona and Ohio, allow only the use of “novelty fireworks,” while others, like California allow “safe and sane fireworks.” On the other hand, Texas allows virtually all consumer fireworks.

Fireworks in Florida

If you live in Florida and are planning a fireworks show, you might want to brush up on Florida’s fireworks laws. The point is that just because you see it in a store or at a roadside kiosk does not necessarily mean that it is legal to purchase, possess or use it.

The only fireworks legal for use by consumers who don’t possess a special permit are those that fall into the category known as “sparklers”.

This includes items more commonly known as:

  • Snakes
  • Glow Worms
  • Fountains
  • Sparklers

If you do not know whether a specific firework is permitted, the Florida Fire Marshall publishes a comprehensive list of legal sparklers each year.

Safety Tips

Remember that those who do not follow their state’s fireworks laws could face big fines or possibly jail time.  Or, worse, if your fireworks hurt innocent people or cause damage to property, not only will you cause pain and suffering, you might end up having to pay for property damage and/or medical bills.  With that awareness, it is important to take precautions and launch fireworks safely. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Read and follow the directions on your fireworks before using them.
  • Beware of suspicious sellers that may sell malfunctioning fireworks, and never make your own fireworks.
  • Use fireworks under responsible adult supervision and do not let small children near fireworks.
  • Light fireworks one at a time and do it outdoors.  Make sure you have water nearby, and avoid hot and dry areas.
  • Carry fireworks in glass or metal containers, not in your pocket or in a flammable container.
  • Never point fireworks at another person or animal.
  • Wear proper eye protection and make sure you or others are not in the way of the firework.
  • After use, dispose of fireworks safely by placing them in water and putting them in the garbage can.

From everyone at OC Estate & Elder Law, we wish you a safe and fun-filled Independence Day! For estate planning and elder law issues Contact OC Estate and Elder Law at (954) 251-0332 or