MIAMI – Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials conducted sweeps of fireworks vendors ahead of the Fourth of July holiday to ensure they aren’t selling dangerous or improperly packaged fireworks.
“(We’re) making sure all the packaging is intact, there (are) no fireworks that could harm anybody, any of the consumers buying these fireworks,” Ozzy Norat, an MDFR fire safety specialist, said. “You generally don’t want to be buying fireworks from just anyone on the side of the road.”
One vendor welcomed the inspection.
“I’m just playing by the rules,” Chris Pouridas, a franchisee at Champion Fireworks said. “I don’t want to get shut down and also my main priority is that everybody’s safe.”
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Norat said common violations include anything from broken packages to expired fireworks.
While officials would rather residents leave fireworks to professionals, MDFR provided plenty of safety tips for those who choose to participate:
- Always buy fireworks from approved vendors. Be sure to read and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
- Light fireworks outdoors, on a driveway or other paved surface. Keep fireworks away from vehicles, homes, grassy areas, and other combustible materials.
- Light one firework at a time and move away quickly.
- Never point or throw fireworks at people or animals.
- Never attempt to relight or handle fireworks that did not ignite the first time. Keep already used fireworks away from unlit ones.
- Never carry fireworks in your pockets or ignite fireworks in metal or glass containers.
- Wear safety goggles to protect the eyes from flying debris or sparks.
- Never wear loose-fitting clothing. If you have long hair, be sure to tie it back when handling fireworks.
- STOP, DROP AND ROLL: If clothing catches on fire, remember to STOP what you are doing, DROP onto the ground, cover your face, and ROLL over and over until the fire goes out.
- Always keep a close eye on children when fireworks are being used, including sparklers, as they can cause severe burns and injuries.
- Sparklers, which are often considered harmless enough for children, can burn up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause third-degree burns.
- Always keep an ABC-rated home fire extinguisher, garden hose or water bucket nearby at all times in case of an emergency.
- Prevent a trash fire by soaking used fireworks properly in a pail of water before throwing them in the trash.
- Remember, do not handle fireworks while under the influence of any substance.
- Leave fireworks to the professionals. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is by attending a public fireworks display put on by trained professionals.
- Due to an increased use of hand sanitizers, in which the main ingredient is alcohol, be cautious when handling fireworks, as hand sanitizers are highly flammable and can cause serious burns.
- Call 911 immediately in case of a fire or burn emergency.