Happy Independence Day!
July 4 is this Wednesday and we can't imagine celebrating the Fourth of July without FIREWORKS. There are FREE fireworks displays - The SCRANTASTIC SPECTACULAR - at Courthouse Square in Scranton on July 3 and the OLD FASHIONED JULY FOURTH CELEBRATION in Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre, both at dusk. Other area celebrations can be found on-line.
These firework displays are put on by professionals so no one gets hurt. However, when non-trained people use fireworks, fires and injuries may occur. Almost half (47%) of the reported fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, more than one-third (35%) of the people seen in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries from June 20-July 20, 2014 were under 15; nine percent were under five.
Since last fall, there are new laws governing fireworks. House Bill 542 was signed into law on October 30, 2017. Under the new law, the Fireworks Act of 1939 was repealed and replaced in its entirety.
The new law permits consumers to purchase and use "Class C" or "consumer-grade" fireworks that include firecrackers, Roman Candles, bottle rockets, and similar fireworks that contain a maximum of 50 milligrams of explosive material. These "non-fireworks" items can be purchased at tents, stands, convenience stores, retail establishments and other various outlets not licensed by the Department of Agriculture. Anyone 18 years of age or older can purchase them.
"Display fireworks," which are classified as including salutes that contain more than two grams or 130 milligrams of explosive materials, and professional-grade aerial shells containing more than 60 grams of pyrotechnic compositions, are still only to be used by professionals with a permit from the municipality where the display will take place.
Additionally, fireworks may not be discharged within 150 feet of an occupied structure or on public or private property with the express permission of the owner. Fireworks or sparklers may not be discharged inside or thrown from or into a motor vehicle or building. Finally, consumer fireworks or sparkling devices may not be used while under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or another drug. Consumers not following these laws may be fined.
Please use caution when using fireworks. It's best to leave any type of fireworks to the experts. Please use caution when using permitted items:
- Always read and follow the instructions carefully.
- Use items outside in an open area.
- A responsible adult should supervise all activities.
- Only light one item at a time.
- Place used items in a bucket of water prior to properly dispose of them.
Please make sure your celebration doesn't get out of hand. With the holiday, comes barbeques and beers at the parties you may be attending. While we hope you have fun, please remember to be safe when having a drink and it is most important to not drink and drive. DUI - driving under the influence -- A person may not drive, operate or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle after imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol.
We hope you have a very happy and SAFE holiday.