Firework displays are a festive, fun way to celebrate our country’s independence, but experts agree: leaving the pyrotechnics to the professionals is the safest way to enjoy the holiday safely.
That said, we understand many people will stop by a store or roadside stand and pick up fireworks to enjoy at home. If you’re planning your own miniature patriotic display, please keep these facts and tips in mind.
On the legal side of the equation, in Frederick County:
- Only gold label sparklers, novelty items and ground-based sparklers are legal [Tweet this!].
- It is illegal to discharge or possess with the intent to discharge any firework that explodes, rises into the air, moves across the ground, or shoots projectiles into the air. Examples include: firecrackers, roman candles and pop bottle rockets. Penalties include a $500 civil citation for each firework and/or criminal charges.
If you’ve purchased any of these illegal items you can call the Office of the Fire Marshall at 301-600-1479. They will gladly pick them up and make sure they are disposed of safely. No civil or criminal penalties will be imposed for voluntarily turning in illegal fireworks.
Assuming your fireworks are legal (and remember the rules vary from county to county and state to state), please be sure to enjoy them safely.
Sparklers are both legal in Frederick County and create a beautiful, hand-held light display. They can also heat up to 1,200 degrees — glass melts at 900 degrees, for comparison — and are the number one cause of firework-related injuries. If you’re going to use them, don’t wear loose-fitting clothing and hold the sparkler away from your body. Dry grass isn’t likely to be an issue for us this year, but remember to keep the super-heated sparks away from any combustible material.
Always have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher handy when you’re enjoying fireworks at home.
If your ground-based sparkler or novelty item doesn’t go off as planned, do not stand over it to try to figure out what went wrong. Put it out with water and dispose of it properly.
If you are injured by fireworks, see your doctor or go to immediate care or a hospital emergency department immediately. If an eye injury occurs, don’t touch or rub your eye. That can cause more damage.
Once again, the safest way to enjoy fireworks this Independence Day is to leave the hazardous materials to the professionals. There are plenty of celebrations across the state and right here in Frederick. Whatever you decide to do, celebrate safely!