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Posted December 29, 2017 | 9:09 AM

Light Up the New Year

The safe way to celebrate with fireworks is at a show staged by professionals

Hillsborough County residents and visitors wishing to bring in the New Year with a bang and aerial starbursts are encouraged to attend a public fireworks display staged by trained professionals. It's the safe, and legal, way to celebrate.

Fireworks handled by unlicensed consumers are illegal in Florida, with few exceptions. Sparklers and devices containing very small amounts of explosive compounds - cap guns, party poppers, glow worms, and the like - are allowed, but should be used with caution.

Follow these safety tips:

  • Closely supervise older children, and don't allow younger children near sparklers or any type of firework.
  • Keep a bucket of water, a garden hose, and/or a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Remain several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not ignite, don't stand over it to investigate.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks, never light devices indoors or near dry grass, and point fireworks away from homes, brush, leaves, and flammable substances.
  • Never discharge a firearm during a New Year celebration.

Be mindful of pets, too. Pets often are frightened by the loud noises and light displays. It's best to keep dogs and cats indoors, in a room equipped with familiar sounds from a television or radio, a water bowl, and adequate ventilation. Feed and walk dogs before the fireworks begin. Try to maintain their normal routines, and keep them calm - with measures suggested in advance by your veterinarian, if needed. Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags, and are microchipped if possible, in case they get loose.

Visit the National Council on Fireworks Safety for more tips.

Welcoming the New Year can be exhilarating. Don't let an accident get it off to a bad start.


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