They say too much can go wrong even with consumer fireworks.
Frederick, Md (KM). Fireworks and the 4th of July go hand in hand. But it may not be a good idea to set them off yourself when celebrating Independence Day. “The potential for injury is always there. Oftentimes, when you do fireworks yourself, you’re busy. There may some younger family members in attendance. We don’t always mind proper safety measures, and the potential for injury rises,” says Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Bruce Bouch.
But if you decide to use consumer fireworks, Bouch says make sure the ones you want to use are legal in your community. He says fireworks sold to consumers are prohibited in certain areas of the state. “Not every tent is going to be set up to supply fireworks throughout the state because in some areas of the state there’s no fireworks allowed at all. Some towns don’t even wants sparklers in use,” he says.
In Frederick County, gold labeled sparklers, ground based sparklers and novelty items are permitted. All consumer fireworks are illegal in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, and Baltimore City. Fireworks that launch into the air or move on the ground, or make a loud noise are prohibited in Maryland. That includes firecrackers, cherry bombs, black cats and M-80’s.
Bouch also says if you use consumer fireworks in communities where they’re legal, read and follow all label instructions; do not allow children to use fireworks; do not consume alcoholic beverages when using fireworks and keep a bucket of water and hose nearby in case something goes wrong.
“Never re-light one that is considered a dud,” he says. “That shorter fuse could be a high potential for an explosion to occur right within your hand or close to your face, causing a trip to the hospital. So never re-light; just go ahead and douse and dunk it water.”
Bouch also reminds citizens that possessing illegal fireworks in Maryland does have penalties. “There a fine that can be levied as well as the confiscation of all the fireworks you purchased,” he said. “There is a $250 citation that is a must-appear in court, and that can be written for each illegal device. It can get quite expensive plus it means time off from work to go to court as well.”
Fire officials also say there are penalties for possessing improvised explosive devices which pop up during the 4th of July period. “They have street names of the M-80, M-100’s and quartersticks. Those fall under the felony category. You cannot possess them; you cannot make them; you cannot activate them. They stand a $250,000 fine per piece, with a potential of 25-years imprisonment as well,” he says.
Bouch says there are other reasons you should not try to purchase them or set off to celebrate Independence Day. “That’s also involves a search warrant of the home. We find all kinds of things that maybe you didn’t want us to look for to begin with,” he says.
By Kevin McManus