MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade firefighters are cracking down on the sale of illegal fireworks ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, conducting safety sweeps of several fireworks stands across the county.
"Basically we come out here to these tents that sell fireworks every year and make sure vendors are selling fireworks that are approved by the state," Ozzy Norat, fire safety specialist for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said.
A team of inspectors visited nearly 30 stands Wednesday morning, looking for anything that might be considered illegal.
"Illegal is pretty much anything that projects into the air, anything that explodes or pops," Norat said. "Anything that projects into the air can go anywhere, so those are illegal in Miami-Dade County."
But it's not just the illegal fireworks that are a concern. Inspectors are also checking the packaging, making sure any loose or damaged items are thrown out.
Another concern is people using legal fireworks improperly, leading to serious injury or death.
"Over here, we have everything from fountains to sparklers, and sparklers being one of the more dangerous ones because they're the most popular with the kids," Norat said.
Last year alone there were more than 9,000 emergency cases related to fireworks on or around the Fourth of July.
It's one reason firefighters are busy hammering home their message.
"One of the biggest things we want people to know is if children are going to be handling the fireworks, please make sure you have a supervising adult, especially if kids are under 10 years old," Norat said. "All we can do is to educate the public so they follow the rules and have a nice Fourth of July."