Are fireworks legal in Florida? How to celebrate Fourth of July safely – and legally

Fireworks are the best part of the Fourth of July, but they could be dangerous if they are not used correctly. 

Here are some safety tips and information on how to have a safe Fourth of July:

What is the definition of fireworks in Florida? 

According to Florida law, fireworks are defined as "combustible or explosive composition or substance or combination of substances … prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration, or detonation."

This includes anything that explodes or makes a "boom" sound – except smoke bombs, cigarette loads, snappers, and party poppers.

Are fireworks legal in Florida? 

Fireworks are legal in Florida, but there are limitations on what is legal and how to buy them. For example, in the state of Florida, a permit is required in order to use fireworks. 

The only time a permit is not needed is on New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and the Fourth of July, according to Florida law. This restriction does not apply to consumer fireworks, such as sparklers, fountains, and ground spinners.

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What fireworks are legal or illegal in Florida?

Fireworks that can not launch themselves in the air are legal, such as small smoke devices, trick noisemakers, glow works and a party popper, according to Florida laws. 

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Photo above are Party Poppers (Photo By Ryan McFadden/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

According to Florida Statute 791.08, using fireworks that require fire underneath to launch them –  like firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, Roman candles and dago bombs – are illegal.

Illegally using fireworks is a first-degree misdemeanor that could lead up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to state law. 

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How to safely light fireworks 

Here are five safety tips to use this year, according to Ocala Fire Rescue: 

  1. Always read and follow instructions. Each firework comes with specific guidelines for safe usage. Ensure you understand and adhere to them strictly.
  2. Set up in a clear, open area. Fireworks should be lit in an area free of flammable materials, buildings, and overhead obstructions.
  3. Keep a safe distance. Spectators should maintain a considerable distance from the launch site to avoid injury from misfires or falling debris.
  4. Have safety equipment on hand. Keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby to extinguish any accidental fires.
  5. Never relight duds. If a firework fails to go off, do not attempt to relight it. Wait 20 minutes before soaking it in water.

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How to dispose of fireworks 

Here are some tips on how to properly throw away fireworks, according to the Florida's Sheriffs Association

  1. Dispose of used fireworks by soaking them in water
  2. Place fireworks in a metal trash can away from other flammable materials
  3. Check for unexploded fireworks. If any, soak them in water, then throw them away.
  4. Keep children and pets away from fireworks

Although the use of fireworks is legal on the Fourth of July, there are cities and towns that do not allow fireworks. Before buying and lighting up fireworks, check your local city or county for their rules and regulations on fireworks.