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How To Safely Enjoy Fireworks

On a day when we celebrate what makes America great—lite beer, freedom, greasy food, and baseball—we often end the celebrations with fireworks. Our most favorite Chinese appropriated pastime, fireworks, are both beautiful and dangerous, and like moths to flames, we gravitate towards those stands that pop up at the end of every June.

While dangerous, there are also many laws surrounding the buying and selling of fireworks. In fact, possessing selling, or using illegal fireworks is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500. However, what constitutes “legal” or “lawful” fireworks?

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Now, before you go off lighting sparklers, there are a few rules to be aware of. First, there is no such thing as “lawful” fireworks on federal property. Sparklers, firecrackers, anything that burns and emits sparks are illegal and punishable by law if set off on federal lands. This includes parks and government facilities. Second, doublecheck that your locality allows fireworks. Individual counties like Chesterfield and Henrico ban the sale, possession, and use of any type of fireworks, including sparklers, within their locality.

When using fireworks, please practice being safe.

  • Keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher handy to douse any fireworks or sparks that could catch and start a fire.
  • Keep an extra bucket of water available to discard all used fireworks.
  • When lighting fireworks, make sure to keep spectators a safe distance away and have a designated adult do all the lighting.
  • Light one at a time and move away quickly once lighting the fuse.
  • Only use fireworks outside, away from any combustible material, preferably on gravel surfaces or driveways. Do not light fireworks while consuming alcohol, and properly dispose of all discarded fireworks.
  • Finally, be wary of pets when setting off fireworks. Veterinarians suggest the loud noises associated with fireworks can make pets nervous, and they can be more prone to violence. Some dogs wrongly think the fireworks are toys. Furthermore, animals feel secure in small, dark places, so if you’re going to be setting off fireworks, consider kenneling your pets beforehand, away from the action.

As in all things, Curcio Law wishes you a safe and happy July 4th. Enjoy all those things that make our country the amazing place it is, but enjoy them all carefully.

 

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