Fire Chief: Practice fireworks safety on 4th of July

Sparklers, small fireworks can still bring big injuries

ORLANDO, Fla. - Local fire chiefs are urging caution while celebrating on the Fourth of July, even with the smallest of fireworks.

In 2011, records show there were 271 fires caused by fireworks, 2 firework injuries and more than $750,000 in property damage from fires caused by fireworks displays gone wrong.

Most people know that some fireworks can be dangerous, but Seminole County Fire Chief Todd Gaddy says even sparklers can cause injuries.

"50 percent of all injuries were from kids under 14 using these unsupervised," Gaddy said.

The sparklers may look beautiful, but they're red hot, with the tops of the sparklers burning at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees. That's 200 degrees hotter than a standard butane lighter.

Gaddy said safety precautions, such as using gloves, can prevent accidents from happening.

"We recommend children wear gloves, in case their hand gets close," Gaddy said.

Gaddy also recommends not using illegal or homemade fireworks, having a bucket of water or hose nearby and soaking used fireworks in water before throwing them away.

He also says lighting fireworks and sparklers one at a time and not holding them close to your body can keep injuries at bay.

Even though Tropical Storm Debby poured rain on Florida, Gaddy says the conditions are still dry enough for fireworks hazards.

"We do have dry conditions and we have to be on guard in Florida," Gaddy said.

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