By Fire Chief Chris Martin and Police Chief John Berg
It is that time of year when many people decide to purchase and use fireworks. Before getting started, we believe it is important to understand what the law says and also how to safely use fireworks. Each year, many people are severely injured, even killed by fireworks accidents and much property is damaged as well; so as your Fire Chief and Police Chiefs, it is our opinion that fireworks only be ignited by trained professionals. That being said, we understand some people will decide to use them anyway, so please be safe and follow the law.
When can you use fireworks? Only the day before, day of and day after one of the ten recognized holidays. (These can be found in the Ordinance). They can only be used between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight, on those days. The midnight deadline is extended to 1:00 a.m. on New Year’s Eve. Where can you use fireworks? Fireworks can only be used on Private Property, with permission of the owner. Fireworks cannot be used within 25 feet of a building, 20 feet of a property line, 500 feet of a gas station, or when winds exceed 10 mph. It is also important to note that fireworks cannot be launched from a public street or sidewalk, which is a common violation. Finally, no one under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance can use fireworks; this is both a safety concern as well as against the law.
If you are going to use fireworks, please follow these suggestions. First off, it is important to read the labels on the fireworks to understand what they are expected to do. These labels should give you safe distances to operate in.. Always have a bucket of water or charged hose at the ready when using fireworks. If the firework is designed to leave the ground, it should be supplied with an object that is designed to launch it from. It is important to take steps to make sure the object used to launch the firework from is on flat ground and is properly stabilized so that is will not fall over. Safety glasses are a must for anyone near the launching of the fireworks. This should only be adults, keep all children at a safe distance. It is also a good idea to wear long sleeve shirts, pants and good shoes as well as a good pair of gloves. If an object fails to launch or ignite, do not attempt to reignite it. Wait 20 minutes before moving that object and never look down the launch tube. If it has not launched or ignited after 20 minutes, submerse the firework in a bucket of water, taking caution to hold the launch tube away from your body and pointed in a safe direction. Soak all used fireworks in a bucket of water and place them in a metal trash can, stored away from any building. Last, but not least, please make sure you clean up after yourself.
Contact the Non-Emergency Fire Department line at (586) 446-2950 or Non-Emergency Police Department Line at (586) 446-2800.