State Officials Remind Citizens to Follow State Laws, Practice Safety When Using Fireworks


Harrisburg, PA – With the fourth of July holiday fast approaching, all Pennsylvanians are being reminded to stay safe and follow state law when enjoying fireworks displays as a part of their celebrations.

“Every year, what should be a time to honor America with family and friends turns tragic somewhere,” said State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay. “Following common-sense safety guidelines can prevent these tragedies and help you create lasting happy memories.”

Pennsylvania law allows consumers to use only small “novelty” fireworks, such as sparklers and trick noise makers. These fireworks can be sold by retail establishments with valid permits.

“With the upcoming holiday weekend, families and friends will come together for cookouts, picnics or even weekend trips,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “As a part of these festivities, there may be fireworks on display. If you are planning to use fireworks as a part of your events, either this weekend or for future activities, please be sure to purchase those fireworks from licensed dealers within the commonwealth.”

All display fireworks that are shot into the air and burst into a large, colorful display, like those seen at organized celebrations and sporting events, are prohibited for use by consumers unless the consumer has a permit from the local government unit where the display is to occur, authorizing the consumer to conduct the display.

Solobay shared the following safety tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

  • Fireworks should only be used outdoors, away from structures, automobiles, etc.
  • Always have water handy.
  • Use fireworks only as intended. Read and follow all directions provided by the manufacturer.
  • Never attempt to relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water prior to disposal.
  • Use common sense. Anyone igniting fireworks should wear safety glasses, and spectators should stay a safe distance away.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
  • Never use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives – illegal fireworks should be reported to local law enforcement.
  • Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type. Sparklers should only be used under close adult supervision.
  • Always remain standing and at least six feet from others while using sparklers.
  • Always wear closed-toe shoes when using sparklers.
  • Never hand a lighted sparkler to another person.
  • Never hold or light more than one sparkler at a time.
  • Sparkler wires and sticks remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop the spent sparkler directly into a bucket of water.

Officials added that there are a number of safe, fun ways to celebrate the holidays with loved ones without fireworks, such as: using glow sticks; red, white and blue bubbles; or silly string.

Media contacts:

Ruth A. Miller, OSFC: 717-651-2009

Brandi Hunter-Davenport, Agriculture: 717-787-5085


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