Summer is here: Keep these Pa. firework rules in mind before you launch

Regional News

Fireworks for the July 4th celebration at the Gateway Arch during Fair St. Louis

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (WTAJ) — While Pennsylvanians prepare to celebrate holidays such as Independence Day, the state fire commissioner along with local leaders and the Burn Prevention Network (BPN) urges residents to understand the necessary steps of firework laws and safety.

“We say it every year because it’s true; fireworks are not toys,” Commissioner Bruce Trego said in a press release. “With significant progress being made on the vaccination front, this summer holds the promise of a return to normalcy in many ways. Much like a vaccine, there are many simple precautions we can take to ensure a fireworks display doesn’t result in an unnecessary trip to an emergency room.”

Pa. firework laws:

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), statistics show fireworks start more than 18,500 fires per year and cause an average of $43 million in direct property damage.

Under state law, Pennsylvanians who are at least 18 years old may purchase and use Class C, otherwise known as consumer-grade, fireworks, the release said. Certain restrictions apply, including:

  • They cannot be ignited or discharged on public or private property without the express permission of the property owner.
  • They cannot be discharged from within a motor vehicle or building.
  • They cannot be discharged toward a motor vehicle or building.
  • They cannot be discharged within 150 feet of an occupied structure, whether or not a person is actually present.
  • They cannot be discharged while the person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or another drug.

Local ordinances may include additional restrictions, so the release reminds residents to always check with their municipality before purchasing or using Class C fireworks. 

Additional tips and seasonal fire safety advice can be found online

Pa. firework tips:

In 2018, it’s reported that there were five nonprofessional firework-related deaths and around 9,000 patients treated for firework injuries in hospitals across the nation, according to a Consumer Product Safety Commission report. Half of those injuries were burns with the head, eyes, face or ears being the more frequently impacted.

Additionally, 36 percent of those injuries involved children.

Trego gave the following suggestions in the release:

  • Never allow children to play with fireworks, even sparklers, which can burn at temperatures of at least 1200 degrees.
  • Only allow adults to light fireworks one at a time, then quickly back away.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of a fire.
  • Never pick up or try to relight fireworks that have not fully ignited.
  • After the fireworks have burned, fully douse them with water before picking them up or disposing to prevent trash fires.
  • Never use fireworks after consuming alcohol, or other medications or substances that can impair judgment or the ability to react quickly to an emergency.
  • Whether attending a professional display, or using consumer fireworks, always remain at a safe distance from the ignition location.
  • Be sensitive of neighbors and their pets, particularly if military veterans live nearby.

“Sale of consumer fireworks have more than doubled in the US between 2019 and 2020,” BPN CEO Dan Dillard said.  “During that same period, fireworks-related injuries have increased by 50 percent. In Pennsylvania, this situation has been even more acute since the passage of the Fireworks Law of 2017.

“BPN understands that fireworks are a traditional part of many community celebrations. Staying safe and informed while celebrating is why we have launched ‘Celebrate Safely PA!,’ a statewide public safety campaign.”

Additionally, residents can subscribe to the ReadyPA monthly preparedness newsletter which features timely preparedness tips.  Sign up to receive the information here.

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