Fireworks, COVID-19 are a bad mix

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‘With the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise in Florida, now is not the time to join in a large celebration. The coronavirus can spread even during outdoor parties.
– Howard Bailey Volusia County fire chief

SPECIAL TO THE DAYTONA TIMES

It’s an American tradition to have fireworks on Independence Day. But handling pyrotechnics yourself is dangerous.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks were involved in more than 9,000 injuries treated in U.S. hospitals emergency departments in 2018.

Personal celebrations discouraged

With public fireworks displays canceled or postponed across the county, Volusia County Fire Rescue officials are concerned that some families and neighborhoods may hold their own celebrations.

“We caution residents against using fireworks because they can cause fires and injuries,” said fire chief Howard Bailey.

“With the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise in Florida, now is not the time to join in a large celebration. The coronavirus can spread even during outdoor parties.”

If you decide to attend a neighborhood celebration anyway, make sure you wear a mask, maintain social distancing of at least six feet, and avoid gatherings of more than 50 people.

Dangers of fireworks

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law in April that makes setting off fireworks legal on Independence Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

However, the state law does not supersede local regulations. Consumer-grade  fireworks are banned on Volusia County’s beaches, where they not only leave a mess, they can frighten nesting sea turtles and cause birds to abandon their nests.

Even sparklers can be dangerous, Bailey noted. They burn at temperatures of 1,200 degrees, which is as hot as a blow torch. When children hold sparklers close to their bodies, they can burn their skin or set fire to their clothes. In fact, small children are at the highest risk for fireworks injuries.

Safety tips

Volusia County Fire Rescue offers these safety tips for residents who purchase consumer-grade fireworks:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move quickly away from them.
  • If a device does not ignite, don’t stand over it to investigate, and don’t try to relight it.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire.
  • After fireworks stop burning, douse them with water from a bucket or hose.
  • Finally, pick up all debris and spent fireworks.

“Please keep a watchful eye on the children as we celebrate of our nation’s independence,” Bailey urged.

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