SOUTH WALTON, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Fireworks have been a national pastime on the Fourth of July for as long as many can remember, but behind the dazzling sparks and colors lurk dangers.
“There has already been a case in Plantation, Florida where a man lost some digits because of fireworks and I think last year or the year before, there were several. Maybe six, or seven, or eight throughout the country of people that died from fireworks,” said South Walton Fire District Fire Marshal, Sammy Sanchez.
And what many people may not realize, especially visitors, are a lot of illegal fireworks are set off in Florida.
“Well Florida Statute 791 considers most consumer fireworks to be illegal,” said Sanchez.
The law states anything that explodes or goes into the air is illegal.
“So every year, we try to take it upon ourselves to educate the public. People coming down here, mostly tourists, that they are illegal in Florida,” Sanchez explained.
He also said, without fail each year, they see the harm fireworks can cause.
But firework safety isn't the only concern they have when staying safe this Fourth of July.
“Really it’s going to be a lot of heat exhaustion issues. We're going to deal with a lot of people not staying hydrated. Indulging a little too much in the adult beverages, which can lead to medical conditions,” said SWFD Beach Safety Director, David Vaughan.
“The good news is we are not expecting large surf. We are expecting high heat, we do expect afternoon thunderstorms,” Vaughan added.
At the end of the day, both officials say they just want to make sure everyone has a fun, safe weekend.
“Our saying is 'leave the show to the pros' and we want you to have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend,” said Sanchez.