The Fourth of July just would not be the same without those breathtaking fireworks. However, those beautiful fireworks can turn your holiday into a tragedy within seconds. Many people are injured each year in Fairfax County due to fireworks. Some are injured seriously and left with permanent damage.
Any firework, which explodes, emits a flame or sparks higher than 12 feet, or performs as a projectile is prohibited by the Fairfax County Fire Prevention Code. A permit is required for the sale of all fireworks, and these permits are only valid from June 1 to July 15 of each year.
Many fireworks are not available in Northern Virginia because they are illegal. Firecrackers, cherry bombs and skyrockets are just a few examples of fireworks which may be purchased in other areas, but are illegal here. Since even the possession of unapproved fireworks is prohibited in Fairfax County, such fireworks will be confiscated and the person possessing them can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. This carries a maximum penalty of a $2,500 fine and/or one-year in jail.
Please adhere to the following safety tips:
- When displaying legally purchased, approved fireworks, place them on a flat surface, clear of any combustible material and clear of all buildings.
- Keep all bystanders at least 25 feet away from fireworks.
- Read the directions.
- Do not permit young children to handle or light fireworks.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Never throw fireworks.
- Sparklers can be very dangerous and account for the majority of injuries. Pieces can break off and burn bystanders.
- Young children should not use sparklers as these can attain a temperature as high as 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
Please have a safe Fourth of July and stay away from dangerous and illegal fireworks. Remember that there are many public displays available that offer a safe way to view fireworks. For more information on this or other safety issues, please contact Public Affairs and Life Safety Education at 703-246-3801 or TTY 711.