More People Expected To Light Fireworks Off At Home This 4th of July
The American Pyrotechnics Association expects more people than ever to buy fireworks and light them off at home this independence day. Executive Director Julie Heckman points to the many counties and cities canceling independence day shows as part of the reason.
This year, the holiday is on a Saturday, and the cancellations of local celebrations are boosting sales nationwide by at least 30 - 40%, says Galaxy Fireworks President Sharon Hunnewell-Johnson.
TNT Fireworks' Sherri Simmons says it's too early to tell if their sales will be more than last year, but they see more people come earlier to make purchases:
"They want to avoid long lines. They want to practice social distancing, and they want to make sure, you know, their favorite product hasn't sold out by the time they get to their fireworks store or their fireworks stand."
Locally-owned D&D fireworks store owner Danny Carpenter says people usually procrastinate until July 4 to buy fireworks. He has five tent-stores across Leon, Gadsden, and Calhoun counties and is seeing more foot traffic earlier this year than usual.
"There might be a lot of people doing fireworks this year that haven't done fireworks in a long time. I think it's very smart to ask your tent operator, 'hey, what should I do to be safer?' And we've got great suggestions: a water hose, a bucket of sand, a bucket of water, fire extinguisher if you have one in your house," Carpenter says.
Tallahassee Fire Department's Robert Clary has more tips:
"Make sure you're not impaired at the time of lighting the fireworks. Make sure you're in a good state of mind. Have a clean area to light the fireworks with nothing around for more than 50 feet that can catch on fire."
Clary says people should have running water available for putting out any potential fires and a metal bucket with water to soak used fireworks overnight, so they don't spark fires in the trash. The most common injury says Clary, isn't from the big booming fireworks but rather the sparklers parents typically give their young children.
"Sparklers, they give off 1200 degrees of heat. You know, you look at that little sparkler, and you don't think it's that hot, but 1200 degrees can cause a serious burn. Kids shouldn't hold them in their hands. You should never hold fireworks in your hands."
Back at D&D Fireworks, Danny Carpenter says it's important to remember what July 4 means to people:
"It's the celebration of our independence as a nation, and it would just be it would be awesome for us to celebrate as a nation all of the things that we have accomplished, and try to focus on the good. There's always bad, and it's always easy to find the bad, but if we could spend a day or two just focusing on the good, that would be awesome."