Updated June 26, 2018
The Fourth of July 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.
We want you and your family/friends to celebrate safely, so here are some tips:
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 you can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of a $2,500 fine and/or one year in jail.
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.
Watch this demonstration video to see the harm and damage (to watermelons and mannequins!) from errant or poorly placed fireworks:
If you’re setting off legal fireworks, keep all bystanders at least 25 feet away and light only one firework at a time.
Maybe you consider sparklers innocent and safe, but sparklers actually account for the majority of injuries. Pieces can break off and burn bystanders. Young children should not use sparklers because they can reach a temperature as high as 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. The video above shows some examples of mannequins quickly burning due to a sparkler.
Some people, including young children, elderly people and veterans, don’t like the loud sounds and bangs from fireworks.
Important information to know about pets and fireworks:
- More pets go missing on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year.
- Make sure your pet is wearing tags or other identification with up-to-date contact information.
- Your pet should have a safe, secure space to go to if they’ll be exposed to noise and light from fireworks.
- Especially terrified pets may try to run—make sure doors and gates are secured.
- Provide distractions—a new toy, a long-lasting treat.
Think about those people and furry pals as you plan to celebrate — or you can skip your own fireworks and attend a local fireworks celebration.