As millions of Pennsylvanians prepare to celebrate Independence Day, it is important for residents to take the appropriate safety steps to protect both loved ones and property.
Fireworks aren’t toys and can cause serious injuries and death if used improperly.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that in 2018, there were five nonprofessional fireworks-related deaths, and an estimated 9,100 patients were treated for fireworks injuries in hospital emergency rooms nationwide. Approximately half of the injuries reported were burns, with the head, eyes, face, or ears being the most frequently impacted part of the body. Thirty-six percent of those injuries involved children under the age of 15. Many of these injuries and burns are caused by children using sparklers without adequate supervision.
Tips for Celebrating Safely
- 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.
While many mitigation actions taken by the state are lifted, Pennsylvanians still need to take the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. Social distancing and other preventative measures like wearing a mask if you are not fully vaccinated and washing hands frequently reduce the spread of COVID-19.
In addition to practicing social distancing, Pennsylvanians should:
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
- Clean surfaces frequently.
Few people are familiar with increased costs and out-of-pocket expenses related to homeowners’ insurance resulting from incidents involving fireworks. Filing a claim with your homeowners’ insurance could result in an increase in your premium, as well as having to pay any deductibles associated with the policy.
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.
Understanding Fireworks Restrictions
Under state law, Pennsylvanians who are at least 18-years-old may purchase and use Class C, otherwise known as consumer-grade, fireworks. 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 always check with your municipality before purchasing or using Class C fireworks.
Save or print the Ready PA fireworks action sheet.
Additional summer safety tips are available online at BeFireSafePA.com.
Read more about summer safety on how to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your pets in the Ready PA newsletter.