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Fireworks Safety

The Fourth of July is just around the corner meaning it is time for fireworks, barbecues, and boating. Fireworks, however, can pose a serious safety hazard to people, homes, and pets. In this blog post we will outline firework laws in several local counties and cities, discuss safety concerns while using fireworks, and present some alternatives to a DIY fireworks show in your driveway.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, fireworks laws are broken down into three governing powers: state, county, and city. Each of these authorities have different rules regarding what is legal or illegal within their boundaries with city laws being the most restrictive.

At the state level:

  • Fireworks are prohibited on Federal Land.
  • The possession, selling, or use of illegal fireworks is a Class 1 Misdemeanor meaning someone found in violation could face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Prohibited fireworks include: “Firecrackers, skyrockets, torpedoes, and other fireworks which explode, travel laterally, rise into the air, or fire projectiles into the air”.
  • A firework permit is required to be obtained 15 days before a fireworks display.

In Fairfax County:

  • Fireworks may only be lit on private property.
  • It is illegal to make or modify fireworks without a permit from the county.

In Arlington County:

  • It is illegal to manufacture fireworks in county lines.
  • The storage and lighting of fireworks must be performed on private property in which the owner is aware of and gives explicit permission for the fireworks to be present.
  • It is illegal to sell fireworks to minors.
  • The laws governing permitted fireworks are the same as those for Fairfax County.

This link will take you to the rules of permitted fireworks for Fairfax and Arlington Counties.

Despite the fact that fireworks are permitted in Fairfax County, several cities within the county have outlawed fireworks. These cities include Alexandria, Falls Church, and Vienna.

If you have plans to light fireworks this Fourth of July please remember some safety steps you can take to minimize the risk of injuring yourself or others:

  • As always, in the event of a fire or injury call 911 immediately
  • Always keep a bucket of water nearby in case of a fire
  • The National Safety Council suggests parents do not allow small children to light fireworks. Older children should only light fireworks under direct parental supervision.
  • Never aim a firework at a person, animal, or piece of property
  • Keep animals away from the area you will be lighting fireworks
  • Never try to relight a firework that did not go off on the first try
  • The US Product Safety Commission suggests never carrying fireworks in your pocket or lighting them in metal or glass containers.

Lighting fireworks at home is not the only way to enjoy a good show on the Fourth of July; Northern Virginia has a collection of wonderful events and fireworks displays open to all:

Fireworks Reflecting Pool at Washington Monument in Washington, DC start at 9:10 pm

Alexandria Oronoco Bay Fireworks party starts at 7:30

Arlington Fourth of July Celebration at Long Bridge Park runs from 4-10 pm

City of Fairfax Fireworks Display and Live Music at Fairfax High School; fireworks start at 9:30 pm

Falls Church Fireworks Display at George Mason High School, fireworks start at 9:20 pm

Herndon Fireworks Display at The Herndon Community Center, fireworks start at 9:30 pm

Lake Fairfax Park Fireworks Display begins at 9:15

McLean Independence Day Celebration and Firework Show at The McLean Community Center with grounds opening at 8:00 pm

All of us at Curcio Law hope you have a wonderful and safe Fourth of July!

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