Enjoy the fireworks handled by professional this holiday

Published 7:02 pm Thursday, June 29, 2023

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Leave fireworks to the professionals this Fourth of July  weekend.

That’s the message from the Virginia Department of Fire Programs-State Fire Marshal’s Office.

In general, any firework that explodes, moves on the ground or in the air, or shoots a projectile is illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia, according to a State Fire Marshal’s news release. 

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Many localities prohibit the sale, possession or use of all fireworks. The State Fire Marshal’s Office advises Virginians to check local ordinances as well as the Statewide Fire Prevention Code prior to purchasing and utilizing fireworks. 

“The safest way to celebrate the holiday with fireworks is to attend a professional show,” State Fire Marshal Billy Hux said. “Improperly handling fireworks can result in catastrophic outcomes including fires and severe injuries.”

Only “permissible fireworks,” as defined in the Code of Virginia, can be legally sold, possessed or used within the Commonwealth. A list of permissible fireworks can be viewed on the VDFP website. 

The sale, possession and/or use of any fireworks not classified as permissible is prohibited. Violations can be prosecuted as a Class I Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,500 and/or up to one year in jail. Any illegal fireworks can be confiscated and you can be summoned by a fire marshal or law enforcement officer.

If anyone decides to use permissible fireworks, follow these important safety procedures:

  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap. Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move quickly away from the fireworks device. 
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water before discarding.
  • Never place any part of the body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
  • Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
  • Consider safe alternatives to fireworks such as party poppers, bubbles, silly string or glow sticks. 

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is working over the holiday to ensure the safety of residents and visitors.

For firework safety tips and more information about using fireworks in the commonwealth, visit the State Fire Marshal’s guide to fireworks at vafire.com.