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Safety First When Enjoying Fireworks in Florida

Safety First When Enjoying Fireworks in Florida

Use sparklers in an open area and keep pets and small children away. Photo by John Paul Tyrone Fernandez

Sparklers and fireworks have often been a highlight of celebrations throughout the summer months. While enjoying your summer celebrations, it is important to know that Florida has strict firework laws. According to the South Walton Fire District’s July 4th PSA Transcript, under current Florida law, only sparklers approved by the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal are legal to use. A person responsible for illegally setting off fireworks may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. The State Fire Marshal’s website is home to a list of approved sparklers which you can here.


SAFETY FIRST


While many do not view sparklers as extremely dangerous, they still have the potential to be very dangerous. If you are enjoying approved sparklers at home, use the 5 following tips to help prioritize safety while enjoying the holiday.

  • Use sparklers in an open area and keep pets and small children away
  • Keep a water hose or fire extinguisher nearby for emergencies.
  • Do not carry or store sparklers in pockets.
  • Purchase sparklers from a licensed vendor.
  • Use a bucket of water to collect the used sparklers. Sparklers may cause fires if not  thoroughly extinguished.


FIREWORK SHOWS

Consider taking your family to a professional fireworks show this year. Photo by Peter Spencer


4th of July firework shows are exciting for people of all ages to watch.  However, fireworks can be very costly, dangerous to setup and most require special permits in certain settings and conditions.  Consider taking your family to a professional fireworks show in your area.  Make it a family tradition, complete with a family picnic for the evening.  Often times, churches and civic organizations will provide professional firework displays with free food for the entire family, just to keep everyone safe for the evening.

There are numerous professional fireworks shows put on throughout the Florida Panhandle. Click here for a list of firework shows on the 4th of July. Be safe and enjoy the beautiful Florida weather!

Happy Independence Day!

 

REFERENCES


GaGa…What?

GAGA BALL

If your youth has attended 4-H Camp Timpoochee or Cherry Lake with the UF/IFAS 4-H Camping Program, they’ve had the chance to play GaGa Ball. You’re probably wondering what kind of name is GaGa ball.  It’s not just a made-up name.  GaGa ball has a rich history.  GaGa is translated from Hebrew as “touch-touch”. It’s said to have originated in Israel, and it has become a popular game at camps around the United States. GaGa Ball is a version of dodgeball and is just as fun.

LET’S PLAY!

GaGa ball is not only fun to say, but it is really easy to learn. First, you need a place to play. GaGa ball is played in a GaGa pit. Here’s just one of many articles on how to build your own GaGa Ball Pit.  Next, you need a ball. GaGa balls are not specific, although a heavy duty dodgeball is recommended. The rules of the game vary place to place, but we play by the following rules at 4-H Camp:

  1. You hit the ball with your hands only.
  2. If the ball hits you below the knee, you are out.
  3. If the ball bounces of the wall and hits you below the knee, you’re out.
  4. If you hit the ball out of the pit, you’re out.
  5. If you hit someone in the face, you’re out
  6. If the game is going slowly, the leader can call “Hands-In”.
    Hands in means everyone who is already out can put their hands over the wall of the pit and try to get those still in the pit out.

Rules can be made and altered to fit the group that is playing the game although the first two rules are staples of the game.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

GaGa ball is a great way to expend extra energy during day camps, but it also is a great way to build and practice life skills. First off, youth are put in situations in every game where they have to practice decision making, discipline, resiliency and many other life skills 4-H strives to instill in our youth. Of course they have to practice their conflict resolution skills as there will inevitably conflicts that arise from their competitive natures. Most importantly, playing GaGa ball helps kids practice a healthy lifestyle.  GaGa ball teaches many important lessons, and is a bunch of fun. So when you hear someone say, “Let’s play GaGa ball!”, give it a try and embrace the challenge.

Learn more about the history of GaGa Ball