University of Florida

Fireworks Safety

When it comes to the Fourth of July, celebrations would seem lacking without fireworks. We all know that some fireworks can be dangerous, but even sparklers can burn at temperatures up to 1000 degrees.

It is important to take proper safety precautions when handling any type of firework, no matter how benign it seems. Consider the following facts about fireworks use in the United States:

  • In 2011, there were about 9,600 injuries from fireworks.
  • 65% of these incidents occurred between June 20 and July 20.

What’s Legal in Florida?

Floridians should use only those consumer fireworks permitted by state law and approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal. In Florida, legal devices include sparklers, cones, fountains, and some aerial items.

State law permits fireworks which:

  • emit a shower of sparks upon burning,
  • do not contain any explosive compounds,
  • do not detonate or explode,
  • are hand held or ground based,
  • cannot propel themselves through the air, and
  • contain no more than 100 grams of the chemical compound that produces sparks upon burning.

Novelties and trick noisemakers, including snakes, smoke devices, poppers, booby traps, and snappers, are also permitted.

Florida law prohibits the following items:

  • Firecrackers
  • Torpedoes
  • Skyrockets
  • Roman candles
  • Daygo bombs
  • Any fireworks containing explosive or flammable compounds (e.g. cherry bombs, silver salutes, and M-80s)

Safety Tips

To ensure your holiday does not include an unexpected trip to the ER, follow these guidelines:

  • Consider leaving fireworks to professionals and go to a public display.
  • Use fireworks outdoors only (but not near dry brush or grass).
  • Obey state and local laws.
  • Always have water or a fire extinguisher handy.
  • Only use fireworks as intended. Read and follow the label directions.
  • Make sure an adult is on hand to supervise, and keep young children away from all fireworks.
  • Never relight or stand over a "dud" firework. Put it out with water.
  • Do not use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives.
Adapted and excerpted from:

Fireworks Safety,” UF Health Science Center (07/2008).

Summer Fire Safety,” US Fire Administration (06/2012).

“Fireworks-Related Injuries,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (accessed 07/2011).