ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Escambia County Fire Rescue is encouraging residents who are choosing to purchase and display their own fireworks to use extra precautions and utilize safety measures during the New Year’s holiday.

On April 8, 2020, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 140, which effectively permitted the use of fireworks in the State of Florida during designated holidays, including New Year’s Eve. 

As numerous Floridians choose to purchase their own fireworks, ECFR said the number of residential structure fires have increased during holidays that are celebrated with fireworks. 

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, an estimated 19,500 fires started by fireworks were reported to local fire departments in the United States in 2018. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that 9,100 consumer fireworks-related injuries were seen in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2018.

Between 2017 and 2021, ECFR said Escambia County experienced six residential structure fires caused by fireworks. Four of those fires were caused by fireworks that were improperly disposed of after their use. 

ECFR also encourages residents to use caution while using sparklers. According to the NFPA, sparklers alone account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries. For children under five years of age, sparklers accounted for nearly half of the total estimated injuries.

“ECFR experiences several fires related to fireworks each year,” Fire and Life Specialist Ray Melton said. “The causes are mainly due to throwing used fireworks in plastic trash containers, resulting in trash fires and house fires if the cans are near the home. We recommend that fireworks be placed in a bucket of water to complete remove of any smoldering.  We also recommend that juveniles be supervised by an adult when using any type of fireworks, and do not hold sparklers near clothing or skin as the temperature of a lit sparkler can reach 1,500 degrees and cause severe burns. Do not use fireworks in or near a home, and airborne firework should never be shot off in the direction of any structure or person.”