Nothing is better than a day of celebration with family and friends, followed by a night under the stars watching fireworks. There is something magical about watching a pitch black sky ignite with bright, colorful explosions. So on July 4th, many of us will be closing out our Independence Day celebrations with a firework display.
For those of you who will be using consumer fireworks this holiday, please read our firework safety tips! Being informed and prepared saves lives.
If you are planning on using consumer fireworks this Independence Day, it is important to familiarize yourself with the laws of the state you will be celebrating in. In New England, consumer firework laws vary greatly from state to state. This means a fireworks celebration in Cape Cod may be very different than one in the Lakes Region or the White Mountains.
Fireworks safety tips:
Take precautions before beginning:
- If you are celebrating in a state that allows consumer fireworks, only use fireworks purchased from that state. Each state has different laws which fireworks are permissible, so a firework that is legal in New Hampshire may be illegal in Maine. Never make or experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Only display fireworks on your own property. If you are hosting a fireworks display on someone else’s property, get their written consent. That way if something goes wrong, you won’t be liable.
- Set up your fireworks in a clear, flat area away from any trees or structures that may catch fire.
- Always keep a hose or fire extinguisher nearby.
- Read ALL cautionary labels and performance descriptions before you begin.
Always use caution when lighting fireworks:
- The only people handling fireworks should be responsible, sober adults. Never allow children to handle fireworks.
- Always wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
- Never light more than one firework package or device at a time.
- Always move quickly away from the firework after lighting.
- Never relight a “dud” firework, or touch one with your bare hands. Wait 20 minutes for it to cool, then pick up with a shovel and soak in a bucket of water.
- Always keep spectators a safe distance away.
Please be responsible when you are finished:
- Be considerate about what time you finish your display. Abide by local noise ordinance laws.
- Clean up and soak all debris in water to make sure embers are extinguished. After soaking, dispose debris in an outside trashcan or dumpster.
- Store any unused fireworks, matches, and lighters in a safe, secure area out of the reach of children. It is unwise to store unused fireworks for a long period of time. Try to use all the fireworks you have purchased.
Since many of you will be vacationing in states where you may be unfamiliar with its laws, we have compiled a list to inform you of firework legislation in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, and Vermont.
Consumer Firework Laws throughout New England:
Massachusetts law (148, S.39) strictly prohibits the sale, possession, transportation, and use of “any article designed to produce a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration, or detonation”. This includes all aerial and non-aerial fireworks (sparklers, cherry bombs, party poppers, firecrackers, etc.). The law is adopted after the Model Fireworks Law promoted by the NFPA.
The fireworks policy in Massachusetts is to “leave fireworks to the professionals”. Massachusetts offers fun, free and safe public fireworks displays in almost every town. Check out this complete list for the Independence Day 2015 Fireworks Displays .
It is legal to purchase, posses, and handle fireworks in New Hampshire, with the exception of these towns. You must be at least 21-years-old to purchase and handle permissible fireworks. Permissible fireworks include (but are not limited to) cylindrical fountains, cone fountains, wheels, ground spinners, helicopters/aerial spinners, roman candles, mines/cakes/shells, reloadable mortars, parachutes, sparklers, morning glories, part-poppers, snaps, and snakes. Illegal fireworks include bottle/skyrockets/ missiles, any type of firecracker, and any device which produces smoke as an effect.
Rhode Island law bans the sale, use, and possession of all aerial consumer fireworks. However, permits for consumer fireworks may be issued by local fire authorities to applicants with a certificate of competency and verified insurance coverage.
The use and sale of non-aerial fireworks (ground-based and hand-held sparkling devices) is legal in Rhode Island. You must be at least 16-years-old to purchase or handle permissible fireworks. For a complete list of legal non-aerial fireworks, please consult RIGL (11-13-1) .
In Maine fireworks laws vary depending on the town. Although Maine law allows the sale, possession, and use of permissible fireworks for anyone over age 21, local authorities may create their own consumer fireworks ordinances. If you are unfamiliar with the fireworks laws of the town you’ll be celebrating in, please consult the Municipal Consumer Fireworks Ordinances.
All fireworks are illegal in Connecticut, with the exception of sparklers and fountains. Sparklers/ fountains should only be used by someone who is at 16-years-old. For clarification about what Connecticut defines as a permissible sparkler/fountain, please consult Connecticut Law Sec.29-356 .
Chapter 177 bans the sale, use, and possession of all aerial firework and many non-aerial fireworks, including but not limited to Roman Candles, firecrackers, bottle rockets, and fountains. Smaller displays and novelty items, such as sparklers, snappers, smoke devices, and party poppers can legally be purchased.
American Alarm and Communications Inc. wishes you a safe and joyous Independence Day!
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