Miami-Dade County

How to dispose of fireworks? Water is key

Fireworks light up the sky with the city of Miami as a backdrop as the city celebrates the Fourth of July.
Fireworks light up the sky with the city of Miami as a backdrop as the city celebrates the Fourth of July. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

After the last of the fireworks has faded from the sky after the July 4 holiday weekend, what should you do with any unpopped firecrackers or unused pyrotechnics?

According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, safe disposal starts with submerging them overnight in water. After they have been soaked properly, double wrap them in plastic bags to make sure the water doesn’t dry out, and then throw them out with your regular trash.

“The whole point is to just soak them so that they’re water logged,” said Arnold Piedrahita, a spokesman for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. “That makes them useless.”

The State Fire Marshal recommends taking precautions even when getting rid of fireworks that were used over the holiday weekend. That means submerging any already used fireworks in sand or water, said Kayla Anderson, a research analyst for the State Fire Marshal. This will ensure that there’s no part that’s still lit or can cause a fire in the trash, she said. After this, they also can be thrown out normally.

In Florida, fireworks that fly through the air or explode are illegal for consumer use. Sparklers and other types that are lit on the ground remain legal.

More explosive fireworks may still be sold to consumers under certain technicalities. State law allows exceptions for using mortars and bottle rockets, for example, to scare off birds from farms or fish hatcheries. Stores may have customers sign affidavits to say they’re using bigger fireworks for these purposes — a loophole that pyrotechnic enthusiasts might exploit.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire Rescue department received reports of three injuries over the long weekend including a 24-year-old man who lost his hand when he set off fireworks in Dania Beach on Saturday and a man who was struck in the face by a bottle rocket on Friday in Cooper City, spokesperson Mike Jachles said.

New York Giants player Jean Pierre-Paul was also reportedly injured in a fireworks accident in his South Florida home over the weekend.

There were no fires over the holiday weekend in Miami-Dade that began from fireworks, Piedrahita said.

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