With the Fourth of July right around the corner, for many people that means the traditional setting off of fireworks — sparklers, firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets, etc.
Unfortunately, using fireworks comes with risks on several fronts. The Consumer Products Safety Commission reported 11,000 fireworks-related injuries in 2016, including four deaths. Many injuries were burns, as even harmless looking sparklers generate torch-like heat.
In addition to safety concerns, there are legal concerns as well. West Virginia legalized sparklers in 2006 and allowed “consumer fireworks” in 2016, but with a number of restrictions and responsibilities. A very short list of examples include:
- You must be 18 to purchase consumer fireworks and have a valid ID;
- Only retailers licensed by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal may sell fireworks;
- No person may ignite fireworks on public or private property without the owner’s express permission;
- No person may ignite fireworks under influence of alcohol or drugs.
Also, many municipalities, including Huntington, WV, still prohibit the use of fireworks in all instances, except for the professionally conducted public displays around the Fourth of July. Please remember to use caution and common sense when using fireworks or attending displays during our summer season. Have a happy and safe Fourth of July.