What fireworks are legal, illegal where you live?

Posted at 1:28 PM, Jul 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-04 14:55:49-04

HANOVER COUNTY, Va (WTVR) - Did you buy any fireworks to help celebrate the Fourth of July? Before you set off anything off, you need to know the rules in your city or county. One rule applies to everyone in Virginia, state law says anything that explodes, rises in the air or shoots a projectile is against the law.

In places like the Richmond, Chesterfield and Henrico there is a total ban on fireworks without a permit.

Richmond Fire Department Lt. Robbie Hagaman said it is important to have safety measures in place before setting off fireworks in areas where they are allowed.

"One of the things people underestimate is the temperature," Lt. Hagaman said.  "They (sparklers) can actually reach temperatures in excess of 1,800 degrees, very hot.  It can be very damaging to the skin, loose clothing. Extremely dangerous."

There is a fireworks code to follow in order to stay safe.

"If you have a fire extinguisher, have it nearby," Hanover County fireworks dealer Brent Gladding said.  "I would stay away from your house, trees, anything that hangs over like that."

In Hanover County, many fireworks including sparklers are permitted.

"Everything we have is safe for Hanover County," Gladding said.  "It's legal and it's been inspected by the fire marshal."

There are many dangers associated with fireworks, but the risks can be reduced with some basic safety measures to include:

  • Always read and follow label directions
  • Have an adult supervise all fireworks activities
  • Buy from a reliable fireworks dealer
  • Ignite outdoors
  • Have water handy
  • Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks
  • Light one at a time
  • Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks
  • Never give fireworks to small children
  • Store in a cool, dry place
  • Dispose of properly
  • Never throw fireworks
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers

"A lot of people seem to be excited about the Fourth of July," Gladding said.  "It's good for the country and I'm just glad to help people celebrate."

For more information on fireworks laws in Hanover County click here.

And for more information on the local amendments to the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code on permissible fireworks click here.