HARRISBURG – Fireworks are a traditional part of many Fourth of July celebrations, but the safest way to enjoy them is by seeing a professional display, State Fire Commissioner Ed Mann said.
“Fireworks displays should be left to the professionals,” Mann said. “Anyone who wants to use legal, small novelty fireworks to celebrate with family and friends should do so only after taking appropriate safety steps to ensure that no one gets hurt.”
Pennsylvania law allows consumers to use small “novelty” fireworks, which are ground-based and include sparklers and trick noise-makers. These fireworks can be sold by retail establishments with valid permits.
Larger fireworks, including firecrackers, roman candles and mortars, are prohibited by state law. All display fireworks that are shot into the air and burst into a large, colorful display—such as those seen at municipal celebrations and sporting events—are prohibited for use by consumers.
Mann shared the following safety tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:
- Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
- Always have water handy.
- Only use fireworks as intended. Do not try to alter or combine them.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water prior to disposal.
- Use common sense. Spectators should stay a safe distance from the igniter and the igniter should wear safety glasses.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
- Never use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives – illegal fireworks should be reported to local law enforcement.
- Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type. Sparklers should only be used under close adult supervision.
- Always remain standing and at least six feet away from others while using sparklers.
- Always wear closed-toe shoes when using sparklers.
- Never hand a lighted sparkler to another person.
- Never hold or light more than one sparkler at a time.
- Sparkler wires and sticks remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop the spent sparkler directly into a bucket of water
For more information on Pennsylvania laws regarding fireworks, please visit the Pennsylvania State Police web site at www.psp.state.pa.us, and click on “Frequently Asked Questions about Fireworks.”