By: Indiana Department of Homeland Security—
Fireworks season has arrived, and the State Fire Marshal is reminding all Hoosiers to be mindful of fireworks laws when celebrating this summer.
“Fireworks can be very entertaining to watch, but there are laws in place that are often overlooked when it comes to their usage,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson. “We want for everyone to enjoy their summer, but we also want them to do so responsibly.”
Hoosiers should remember the following laws when setting off fireworks:
- The person setting off fireworks could be liable for damage on any property.
- Fireworks may only be set off on the user’s property, on the property of someone who has consented to the use of fireworks or at locally-mandated special discharge locations. Not all communities designate a special discharge location.
- Throughout the year, fireworks may only be used between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.Local ordinance may limit this further.
- No local limitations may be placed on holidays and specially designated days listed below.
On holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day), fireworks may be used between 10 a.m. and midnight.
There are penalties that come with breaking the laws regarding fireworks. Here are a few examples:
- A person using fireworks anywhere other than the three previously listed places could face a maximum fine of $500 per infraction.
- Damaging someone else’s property with fireworks could result in a fine of $5,000 as well as one year imprisonment. Restitution costs to the property owner may also be assessed.
- Someone recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally using fireworks and causing the serious injury or death of someone else could face imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.
- Anyone under the age of 18 possessing or using fireworks without the presence of an adult could face a fine of $500 per infraction.
Not only do fireworks users need to abide by laws, but so do fireworks retailers who sell to the public, who may only sell 1.4G consumer fireworks. Dealers must hold a permit through Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s Fire and Building Safety Division, which is overseen by the State Fire Marshal.
No one younger than 18 may purchase fireworks.
Each year, more firework-related injuries are reported on Independence Day than any other day. In 2015, 47 percent (85 cases) of the total number of reported cases occurred on Independence Day.
“Having more knowledge on fireworks safety and taking smart precautions when handling fireworks can lead to safer celebrations,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson. “Fireworks make the holiday exciting, but Hoosiers need to remain vigilant about firework safety.”
Last year, 181 firework-related injuries were reported to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), the highest number of firework-related injuries since 2006. According to media reports, two Indiana residents died in 2015 due to firework-related injuries.
Here are some firework-related injury statistics from ISDH:
- More than one-third of all reported firework-related injuries involved individuals 18 years of age and younger.
- The average age of all injured persons was 24.5 years old; ages ranged from 1 to 78.
- Hand and/or finger injuries accounted for 43 percent of firework-related injuries.
- Firecrackers, rockets and aerial devices accounted for 47 percent of injuries.
- Malfunctioning or mishandling of fireworks accounted for 58 percent of reported cases.
Greeson said children should never be allowed to handle, play with or light any types of fireworks. He also suggested that glow sticks are a safer alternative to traditional sparklers, especially for younger children. Sparklers can burn at about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt glass.
Here are some more fireworks safety tips:
- Use a clear, open area and keep the audience at a safe distance from the shooting site.
- Do not attempt to make or alter any fireworks or fireworks device.
- Only light one firework at a time and never attempt to re-light or fix a “dud” firework.
- Have a fire extinguisher, water supply, hose or bucket of water nearby.
- Never smoke or consume alcohol when lighting fireworks.
- Never aim, point or throw fireworks at another person.
For more fireworks safety tips, visit GetPrepared.in.gov.
Jason D. Rogers
Emergency Medical Services
Delaware County, Indiana