OUR POSITION: Anyone planning to do their own fireworks show this weekend must be alert to the dangers involved.
Fireworks on the Fourth of July are an American tradition.
And we’re sure hundreds of you are itching to head to the backyard after dark and set off your own fireworks display now that Florida has made it legal to do so on three major holidays.
Many people, however, will be satisfied to attend one or more of the four big fireworks displays scheduled Saturday and Sunday evenings.
There are fireworks planned for 9 p.m. Saturday at Fishermen’s Village and another big display Sunday, 9 p.m., in Laishley Park.
The Venice Fourth of July fireworks start at 9-9:30 p.m. Sunday from Humphris Park (South Jetty) at 2000 Tarpon Center Drive.
The Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary Club presents the 2021 Light Up Lemon Bay fireworks show in Englewood at 9:05 p.m. Sunday. The launch site is Blind Pass Beach Park.
North Port has its annual Freedom Fest Fireworks show at 9 p.m. Sunday at the North Port High School football field, 6400 W Price Blvd.
For most of us that should satisfy our appetite for big booms and bright explosions, because we believe fireworks should be left to the pros.
But if you insist on becoming your own pyrotechnical expert, there are some things you should remember.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 10,000 fireworks-related injuries treated at U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2019, as well as at least 12 deaths. Many of those injuries involved the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
In other words, setting off fireworks is tricky enough. Drinking and setting off fireworks is just asking for trouble.
And, some fireworks are still not okay. Some fireworks are classified as illegal explosives. Illegal explosives won’t be dressed up and often have no labeling or warnings printed or pasted on them. Warning labels are required by law on all fireworks products.
Consumer Product Safety Division reminds us:
• Even sparklers, which many parents think are safe, burn at almost 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which can melt metal
• The largest legal consumer firecracker is now limited to 50 milligrams, or 1 percent as much powder as an M-80. Illegal M80’s can injure or kill people.
• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
• Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
• Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
• Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
• Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
• Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
• Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
• After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.