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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

June 28, 2013

Contact: Mary Harmon Salter

(813)612-2470 Office

(813) 918-6367 Cell

ATF Encourages Americans to Celebrate the 4th of July Safely

TAMPA, Fla. — As we celebrate our Nation’s independence over the Fourth of July, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Tampa Field Division wishes to remind our fellow Floridians to be vigilant and cautious when dealing with fireworks.

As the Federal law enforcement agency charged with enforcing Federal explosives laws and regulations, ATF actively partners with other Federal agencies, such as the Consumer Products Safety Commission, and State and local law enforcement agencies, to prevent the possession and trafficking of illegal fireworks and the misuse of fireworks. Florida fireworks laws and regulations might differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Before purchasing or using any fireworks, please check with the authorities in your areas to find out what is allowed.

According to Julie Torres, Special Agent in Charge of the Tampa Field Division, "Fireworks are a long–standing part of celebrating our Nation’s history and remind us of the freedoms that we enjoy every day. We ask consumers to exercise extreme caution when handling fireworks, and warn that misusing fireworks and the use of illegal fireworks are dangerous."

ATF recommends the following safety practices when using consumer fireworks:

  • Consumer fireworks should be clearly marked and come with instructions for safe use – always read and follow the directions on the label.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place not accessible to children and avoid rough handling.
  • Always have an adult present when handling fireworks and never give fireworks to young children, even sparklers!
  • Light one firework at a time, then move to a safe distance – keep spectators a safe distance away from fireworks.
  • Only light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from anything that might catch fire.
  • Keep water handy. Douse fireworks that fizzle with water. Soak leftover items with water.
  • Never stand over fireworks while lighting. Don’t relight or stand over malfunctioning fireworks. Never light fireworks in bottles or cans or use them in ways they are not intended.
  • Never cut or take apart fireworks, and never add ingredients to fireworks.
  • Always wear safety glasses when igniting fireworks.
  • Never use fireworks in a manner that they were not intended or designed to be used.
  • To better ensure a safe and happy Fourth of July, the public is encouraged to enjoy the fireworks shows conducted by the licensed professionals.

The public is urged to report the use or sale of illegal fireworks or explosive devices by calling the toll–free ATF hotline at 1–888–ATF–BOMB (1–888–283–2662).