Wellington and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office are urging residents to think about safety as they make plans to celebrate the Fourth of July.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 8,500 people in the United States wind up in the emergency room each year due to fireworks-related injuries; 40 percent of those injured are children under 15. Wellington receives numerous calls each year from residents concerned over the private use of fireworks not only related to personal injury but also injuries to household pets or property damage. In some cases, animals injure themselves or become very ill as a result of this activity. As in past years, Wellington will also place “Fireworks Free Zone” signs at various locations in the equestrian areas to remind residents of the danger of personal fireworks use.
In Florida, it’s illegal to buy, sell or explode consumer fireworks, even on your own property, unless you have a permit for a public display, will use the explosives to scare off birds from a farm or fish hatchery, or you work on a railroad and need to light or clear a path for a train. Some of the illegal fireworks prohibited for normal resale are standard fireworks, projectile fireworks, bottle rockets and M-80s.
According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, residents should not sign waivers in order to circumvent the law and purchase fireworks. Using fireworks illegally is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. There is still a risk of injuries with “legal” sparklers, novelties and noisemakers.
For a safe Fourth of July alternative, attend Wellington’s annual “A Family Fourth Celebration” from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Village Park. This free event includes bingo sponsored by Humana Inc., traditional games, inflatable rides, face painting and live music. Fireworks will begin at 9:15 p.m., presented by Zambelli Fireworks International. Free shuttle service will be available from the Palm Tran bus stop at the Mall at Wellington Green beginning at 5:30 p.m. For more info., call (561) 791-4005.