Department of Public Protection
Enjoy Fireworks at Public Shows, Fire Marshal Says
For many Kentuckians, celebrating Independence Day means traditional activities such as fireworks.
That tradition is best observed by attending a community fireworks show, State Fire Marshal Rodney Raby says. Residents who put on their own fireworks show not only run the risk of injury, but may be violating state law, he says.
“Kentucky law doesn’t allow consumers to use the kind of fireworks that we can view at professional shows,” Raby says. “For home use, the law permits only Type E fireworks. That excludes anything that explodes or shoots in the air.”
Home fireworks are hazardous. Last year, about 30 Kentuckians were injured during fireworks accidents. Even legal fireworks are potentially dangerous.
“People consider sparklers to be harmless, but they’re not,” Raby notes. “They burn extremely hot, and they can ignite clothing. You absolutely should not hold a lit sparkler.”
Fireworks also should never be used where they could ignite vegetation or structures, Raby says.
“We’re seeing increased fire hazards because of unusually hot and dry early summer,” Raby says. “That makes it especially important to use fireworks properly.”
Type E fireworks include sparklers, cone fountains, ground spinners, and noise makers. Firecrackers and rockets are not Type E fireworks and are not legal for home use. You must be 16 to purchase any fireworks in Kentucky.
For those who choose to use fireworks at home, here are some dos and don’ts.
- Buy from a reliable seller
- Read and observe the label directions.
- Keep water handy – either a bucket or hose.
- Have an adult present at all times.
- Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and throwing them in a trash can.
- Re-light a “dud” firework.
- Give fireworks, including sparklers, to small children.
- Throw or point fireworks at anyone.
- Use fireworks close to dry vegetation, structure or any other material that could ignite.
- Shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
More information on fireworks safety is available at the National Council on Fireworks Safety Web site, http://www.fireworksafety.com/safety.htm