Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities

Connecting you to the community.

Leave a comment

National Fireworks Safety Month

It’s July; time for BBQs, ice cream, family vacations, and fireworks. According to the Consumer Product Satefy Commission, there were about 9,600 fireworks related injuries during the Fourth of July holiday in 2011.  Help your family and friends avoid the potential dangers of fireworks by following these common sense guidelines:

  • Always purchase fireworks from a reliable source.
  • Use fireworks as directed on consumer product safety label; never alter products.
  • Observe local laws and use good common sense.
  • Have a designated shooter to organize and shoot your family show.
  • A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities.
  • Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • NEVER carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor trash can.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.


For more information on fireworks safety and to view a safety video, please visit http://fireworkssafety.org/.


Leave a comment

Summer Safety

Sun Safety

June is National Safety Month.  APD wants you to have a happy and safe summer vacation, and we will give you safety tips throughout the entire month.  As your family heads to the beach, (Billy Joe Rish Park we hope!) keep in mind the following summer safety issues:

  • Sun safety
  • Water safety
  • Surviving the hot weather
  • Impaired driving
  • Fireworks safety


Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can not only cause painful sunburns, but can also have long-lasting, damaging health effects including skin cancer, eye damage, and premature aging.  The best ways to prevent excessive sun exposure are wear a shirt, use broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, and wear a hat and sunglasses.

Water Safety

No matter where you are in Florida you are never too far from a beach, and with several months of warm weather boating, swimming, and other water activities are very popular.  Water safety is extremely important especially for young children and individuals with disabilities that may have mobility issues.  The following tips will help you and your loved ones stay safe while swimming or boating this summer:

  • Supervise young children when in or around water
  • Use the buddy system
  • One-on-one supervision or use life jackets for people who have seizures
  • Learn to swim
  • Learn CPR
  • Avoid alcohol while near water
  • Know local weather conditions before swimming or boating
  • Use life jackets when boating
  • Know the meaning and obey warnings represented by colored beach flags
  • Watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents
  • If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore

Surviving the hot weather

Heat related illness, such as heatstroke, can happen to anyone who is not accustomed to being in intense heat.  Heatstroke occurs when the core body temperature reaches 105 degrees Fahrenheit.  Signs of heatstroke may include:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Red, hot, dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
  • Seizures
  • Fainting or unconsciousness

The best method of fighting heatstroke is prevention.  Get in the shade and keep cool.  Remember to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water.  Refrain from engaging in rigorous outdoor activities if you are not used to the heat.

Impaired Driving

Drinking and driving is never a good combination.  Driving impaired or riding in the car with an impaired driver can result in serious injury to yourself or others, and potentially even death.  If you go to a social gathering that will involve alcohol, make plans in advance.  You can make the decision to be the designated driver, arrange for transportation by cab, or arrange for a friend to be your designated driver.  Having a plan before you go to a party is one step in ensuring you and your fellow drivers’ safety.

Fireworks Safety

Summer brings picnics, barbecues, parades and fireworks displays, especially around the 4th of July. Summer also brings an increase in injuries from backyard grills, bonfires, and fireworks.  The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers several common sense tips for staying safe during the holiday season.

  • Always purchase fireworks from a reliable source.
  • Do no alter fireworks; use as directed on packaging.
  • Observe local laws.
  • A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Never relight a dud firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak in a bucket of water.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor trashcan.


Fishing on the beach

Leave a comment

Surf’s Up!

One of the best things about living in Florida is that you’re never too far from the beach!  The Northeast Region has some great summer events coming up that APD customers may be interested in participating in.

Surfers For Autism events provide a safe, fun, judgment-free environment where highly skilled surf instructors carefully guide them into waves. Surfers and their families are treated like rock stars and will enjoy a day filled with a wide range of activities including stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, live music, face painting, games, fire engine tours, and much more. A catered lunch is also provided, all at no cost to registered participants, their families, and volunteers.

This is a very special day where children with developmental delays can wow families with their capabilities!  There are two events coming up in the Northeast Region in August.  The 5th Annual Inlet Surfers for Autism Beach Festival will be held on August 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Ponce Inlet.  The Best Western Plus Aku Tiki Inn will be the host hotel for the event.  Reservations for the Surfers with Autism block can be made until July 1 by calling 1-800-258-8454.  The 5th Annual First Coast Surfers for Autism Beach Festival will take place on August 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Flagler Beach Pier.

For more information on Surfers For Autism and upcoming surfing events, visit http://surfersforautism.org/.