Gulfport, FL--The Gulfport Police Department would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Independence Day. To help promote this, we are reminding residents and visitors of the dangers associated with the use of illegal fireworks and celebratory gunfire.
Illegal fireworks are frequently associated with structure fires and personal injury. According to the National Fire Protection Association:
- In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
- In 2011, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,600 people for fireworks related injuries; 61% of 2010 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 34% were to the head.
- The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-19, and adults 25-44, in an atypical year of a very comparable risk across much of the population.
- On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
Gulfport police officers will be proactively enforcing state laws regulating fireworks and the discharge of firearms. Use of fireworks other than certain sparklers and novelties is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. Officers will confiscate illegal fireworks and cite or arrest violators.
Celebratory gunfire has claimed lives and is responsible for many injuries and incidents of property damage. Not only is this activity dangerous, it is against the law. Discharging a firearm in public is also a first-degree misdemeanor. Police will confiscate weapons and ammunition, and they will not be giving any warnings.
Please do the right thing. Keep the guns stored securely, and come down to the Gulfport beach to watch an amazing fireworks display rather than putting on your own show.
Gulfport Police Department
Chief of Police Public Information Officer
Robert A. Vincent Sgt. Thomas Woodman