Fireworks & safety: Know the law

If you want to brighten your Independence Day celebration with these fiery explosives be very careful about where and what kind of fireworks you’re getting into.

In Virginia, fireworks that explode and rise into the air are 100% illegal; these include firecrackers, roman candles, torpedoes, and bottle rockets. In Richmond (as well as in Chesterfield and Henrico counties), fireworks of any kind (including our childhood favorite, sparklers) are also absolutely prohibited. The penalties for breaking these laws can include fines up to $2,500 and jail time.

Although most surrounding counties do allow some “safe and sane” fireworks, if you chose to go outside city limits to have some fun, you should be aware of the laws in your area and some general safety tips.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends the following fireworks safety tips

  • Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
  • Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
  • Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks. Read the caution label before igniting.
  • Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
  • Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: they can kill you!
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department

Fireworks legal in most surrounding counties:

  • sparklers
  • fountains
  • pinwheels
  • snapping caps
  • Pharaoh’s serpents

If unsure about what your fireworks are legal in your area, check your county’s website or ask your area retailer.

Photo by: derekskey

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