As you prepare to celebrate Independence Day with family picnics, outings to the beach and neighborhood barbecues, fireworks are often a fun part of these celebrations. However, it’s necessary to take steps to prevent these festivities from turning into tragedies. Here’s what you need to know...
Facts about Fireworks
Each year, fireworks in the United States cause nearly 10,000 injuries with nearly 1,000 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets according to the CPSC. Although many people mistakenly believe that sparklers are safe, sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (nearly hot enough to melt gold).
Maryland’s Fireworks Laws
Fireworks by definition in Maryland, include any firecracker, skyrocket, or Roman candle. Toy caps are only permitted if the explosive content is under .25 grains and they are designed so the hand cannot come in contact with the cap when in use.
In Maryland, private use and possession of fireworks, including sparklers, is illegal and carries a $500 fine. Additionally, it is against the law to sell fireworks in Maryland, and carries a $1,000 fine. Public fireworks displays require proper permits and insurance.
Different counties also have their own laws and regulations. In Anne Arundel County, sparklers, fountains, crackle and strobe, wheels and spinners are legal. As a rule of thumb, anything that launches, explodes or flies is illegal according to the Annapolis Fire Department.
Teach children that fireworks are NOT toys. Explain the dangers of explosives and fireworks to your children.
Do not allow your children to handle fireworks, including sparklers. Additionally, set a good example! Do not handle fireworks or sparklers yourself!
Other safety tips when using fireworks:
Use fireworks only outdoors
Light only one at a time
Move quickly away from the firework after igniting.
Keep lighters and ignition sources away from children
Never throw fireworks
Soak used fireworks in a bucket of water and clean up debris
Never attempt to reignite a firework that did not go off.
Don’t wear loose clothing when handling sparklers or other fireworks
If you are going to hold any sort of public fireworks display, be sure to obtain the proper permits and insurance before your event. It is always a safer bet to enjoy the thrill of fireworks and pyrotechnics at public displays by licensed professionals.